From student to teacher: Gabe Lopes returns to Expedition: Bio
Gabe Lopes first attended Expedition: Bio, Whitehead Institute’s summer science program for middle school students, in 2019. He loved the experience so much that he attended again the next year. Now a high schooler, Gabe has decided to return to Expedition: Bio once more, this time as a teaching assistant.
“Expedition: Bio expanded my view of science, the experiences I had with science, and my love for science, and the reason I’m going back to be a teaching assistant is to hopefully spread that love for science to other kids,” Gabe says.
Gabe describes himself as someone who has always been curious and loved learning. He found Expedition: Bio to be a perfect opportunity to explore that curiosity and recalls having fun doing hands-on science, and interacting with professional scientists and hearing from them about how they got into their careers. Some of his favorite activities included extracting DNA from strawberries, collecting leaves and sketching them with artist and nature journalist Sandy McDermott, and collecting insect specimens on a field trip to Drumlin Farm to look at later under the microscope. Gabe also enjoyed getting to know the other students attending the program.
“The other kids in the program were really nice, and it was easy to make friends in such a small classroom. The idea is not just that you do science and leave. The idea is you come, make friends, do hands-on science activities together, and have fun. The social aspect made it ten times better,” Gabe says.
In fact, Gabe made a good friend at Expedition: Bio with whom he has kept in touch since the program ended. The two collaborated on their final project. At the end of the program, all of the students create science posters about a topic of their choice and present them to family and Whitehead Institute researchers during a poster session. Gabe and his friend created a poster about bees—including their lifecycle, how they feed the queen, and how they make honey—after learning about bees at Drumlin Farm.
Since attending Expedition: Bio, Gabe has continued to research topics of scientific interest on his own. He recently learned all about woodpeckers: “They wrap their tongues around their brains so that they don’t get a concussion pecking at trees,” Gabe says. This past year at school, Gabe’s favorite class was physics, and he’s excited to take biology next year.
“Expedition: Bio really fueled my passion for science,” Gabe says.
Gabe is looking forward to helping the Expedition: Bio instructors recreate that experience for this year’s students. He wants the students to learn, to see that they can do well in science, and to have fun doing it.
“What I hope the kids get out of Expedition: Bio is that science is not just something you have to take at school,” Gabe says. “It’s something you can have fun doing with your friends. There’s always something new to learn, and fun experiments to do. Most of all, I want them to have fun learning.”
To learn more about Expedition: Bio, click here.
Communications and Public Affairs