USC Teacher Awarded Unsung Heroes Grant
Dr. Colin Syme is recognized for his innovative instructional program.
An Upper St. Clair High School science teacher has received a $2,000 grant through the ING Unsung Heroes program.
Dr. Colin Syme was one of four winners in Pennsylvania and 100 across the nation to be recognized for innovative teaching programs. Winners were selected from more than 1,300 applications. He now compete with other winners for one of the top three prizes: an additional $5,000, $10,000 or $25,000.
Syme submitted “Zebra Fish: A Tool For Project-Based Learning.” The program engages students using zebra fish, which possess genetic similarity to humans, as cross-curricular tools for inquiry. Students will explore several lines of study, including housing and breeding, basic cell development, embryology, genetics, physiology and molecular biology.
The program calls for students to study embryological and cellular development in response to different environmental and chemical factors. Students also will observe and study the internal anatomy of transparent zebra fish variants, allowing for the measurement of physiological parameters such as heart rate, respiration and blood flow. In addition, students will perform genetic crosses of different types of zebra fish and conduct ethical embryotic manipulation, using several different methodologies.
Syme began full-time teaching at Upper St. Clair High School in 2009 and currently instructs conceptual biology and honors anatomy and physiology. He also has taught honors biology.
A graduate of Strathclyde University in Glasgow, Scotland, with a degree in immunology and pharmacology, Syme earned his doctorate in physiology from Aberdeen University. He completed his teacher certification studies at Duquesne University.
Prior to entering the teaching profession, he was involved in scientific research in several areas including osteoporosis, diabetes, and cystic fibrosis at the University of Pittsburgh. He also taught college-level science classes at Pitt and La Roche College.
At Upper St. Clair, he is Science Fair sponsor and also is the sponsor of the Future Med Club, which acts as a networking tool and resource for students interested in pursuing a career in health- or medical-related fields.
The ING Unsung Heroes program, through ING Financial Services, is in its 16th year. The program has awarded nearly $4 million to 1,700 educators for their innovative teaching methods, creative educational projects and ability to positively influence their students.