Igniting Curiosity, Catalyzing Change
Inspirational 6th Annual Valerie Logan Luncheon Generates Record $140,000 for ISB Education Programs
At the 6th Annual Valerie Logan Luncheon held Thursday, the day’s theme – “Igniting Curiosity, Catalyzing Change” – was evident throughout. Every year, Institute for Systems Biology celebrates Valerie Logan, the founder of the education programs at ISB, and all her work toward providing K-16 professional development for educators, high school STEM curriculum development, undergraduate research internships, and, crucially, student access to diverse mentors. This year’s event raised a record $140,000 to fund ISB’s education programs.
Following the example that Valerie Logan has set, ISB’s Education team works tirelessly to ignite curiosity in young minds and help catalyze their education and experiences, helping them become the future STEM professionals and science-literate citizens who make informed and important decisions about the world we live in.
“Valerie is fiercely independent, curious, and driven by doing something significant in education,” said Dr. Lee Hood, president and co-founder of ISB and husband of Valerie Logan. P4 health care, scientific wellness and systems medicine are fundamental pillars in medicine of the 21st century, Hood said. We must “educate health professionals, citizens and every student, whether a high schooler, undergrad or medical student.”
ISB’s commitment to science education evolves, Hood continued. ISB looks to the future and anticipates needs that have not yet emerged, and truly takes a systemic approach to making equitable access to high quality STEM education a reality.
As is tradition, the event was kicked off by engaging luncheon guests with a tabletop science experiment focused on the day’s theme. Pat Ehrman, Education Committee member, led the experiment, asking guests to add yeast to a hydrogen peroxide solution, and then watch as it expanded and flowed over the centerpiece beakers. Ehrman used the experiment as an analogy, saying: “Like introducing yeast to hydrogen peroxide, when you introduce school districts to ISB, change happens.”
The theme continued with a video and presentation from Jamie Creola, ISB’s Vice President of Education. Creola noted how “crucial work starts in formative years … in the K-12 space,” and discussed the importance of engaging “all stakeholders in a district,” including district leaders, teachers, students and science professionals, in order to create a community and culture of science learning that engages and supports all students.
At the heart of this luncheon is the Valerie Logan Leadership in Science Education award. This award was established to honor world-class science educators for their dedication to leading-edge science education programs that are systemic.
Dr. Colleen Sheridan, an immunologist-turned-science professor, was awarded the 6th annual Valerie Logan Leadership in Science Education Award. “I am so honored and thrilled to be presented an award from my heroes,” said Sheridan, who worked for ISB as a scientist before following her passion into post-secondary education. “We all have the power to change people’s lives.”
The luncheon’s keynote address was delivered by Jessica Hale, a former high school intern at ISB. “It was one of the most exciting things I have ever done,” said Hale, who spent part of her internship developing curriculum. “At the time, I had no idea the impact my work would have. I recently learned that this curriculum is now taught in all 50 states, as well as many other countries.”
Hale said her positive experience with ISB led her to science major, and she is now pursuing a PhD. “I know it sparked my passion for marine biology. My work at ISB, and the relationships I have developed here, have played an influential role in shaping the scientist I have become.”
A challenge made … and met
“I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the work done at ISB,” a tearful Marne Anderson told guests attending the 6th annual Valerie Logan Luncheon at Institute for Systems Biology on Thursday.
Anderson was diagnosed with colon cancer in November 2016. She was tipped off after enrolling in Arivale, a spinoff of ISB, that explores genomic and other personalized data and provides a tailored approach for wellness.
Anderson, an ISB Education Committee member, said she took her health into her own hands. Despite assurances from her doctor that she was “perfectly healthy,” she scheduled a colonoscopy that revealed colorectal cancer. She underwent surgery and chemotherapy, and is now cancer-free. “My cousin was diagnosed with the same disease the same month of the same year. He’s not with us anymore, but I’m here today,” she said. “I feel so blessed.”
Anderson’s emotional story was the culmination of a 90-minute event that was packed with emotion and inspiration. After Anderson shared her story, she introduced ISB board member Douglas Howe, who recalled a recent trip with ISB’s education team to the Renton School District where he spent some time with middle school teachers. “I was inspired by their enthusiasm,” he said. “It was transformational for me.”
Howe then said: “I’m here today to make a challenge,” and vowed a dollar-for-dollar match for every $5,000 gift up to $20,000.
The room responded. Five donors raised their hands to fund ISB’s education efforts, and several more donated $1,000 each.
The generosity befitted the annual event that represents ISB’s commitment to education and the importance of making education accessible and attainable, which has long been a signature of Valerie Logan and Lee Hood.