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Pieces of Eight

Teacher in ECU lab
Fanette Entzminger, a biology teacher at Farmville Central High School, listens as Dr. Christopher Wingard, an associate professor of physiology at the Brody School of Medicine, points out details of an experiment. Entzminger is working in Wingard‰s lab as part of a nationwide fellowship for science teachers. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Farmville Teacher Studies in ECU Physiology Lab

By Doug Boyd

Fanette H. Entzminger, a biology teacher at Farmville Central High School, spent seven weeks this summer studying in the physiology laboratory of Dr. Christopher J. Wingard at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University.

Entzminger‰s fellowship was part of the American Physiological Society‰s Frontiers in Physiology 2005 Professional Development Fellowship program.

The focus of Wingard‰s lab is understanding the regulation of smooth muscle contraction and relaxation. Entzminger, who has been teaching science for 22 years, was one of 19 teachers nationwide chosen to participate in the Frontiers in Physiology program this year.

The goal of Frontiers in Physiology is to provide a laboratory research experience to middle- and high-school teachers. Through learning research techniques and following the scientific process from start to finish, the teachers and subsequently their students gain a greater understanding of science. The program pairs teachers with APS members who make the teachers part of their research team. Teachers also learn education strategies that help them translate their research experience into classroom labs.

,It‰s provided a lot of lab experience that I haven‰t had,Š said Entzminger, who studied with Wingard from mid-June to mid-August. Farmville Central participates in the county‰s Health Sciences Academy, a joint effort of the school system, ECU, University Health Systems of Eastern Carolina and others to promote health careers among young people. ,We‰re trying to get students interested in going into some sort of medical profession, and I think medical research certainly falls into that.Š

Wingard agreed that sharing laboratory experiences with students is important.

,What we‰re trying to do is reach out (to public schools) and get them familiar with what‰s happening here,Š he said. ,Get (students) early in high school and get them excited about it.Š

The award provides each teacher with a stipend of up to $8,500 and includes an expense-paid one-week science teaching forum where they explore new research and teaching techniques for the classroom. Teachers will also receive travel expenses to attend Experimental Biology 2006, which attracts nearly 10,000 scientists annually.

The Frontiers program began in 1990 with 10 high school science teachers who received eight-week fellowships in a physiology laboratory. Since then, nearly 325 teachers and 211 APS members nationwide have participated in this program.

The Frontiers in Physiology Program is sponsored by APS, the National Center for Research Resources, the Science Education Partnership Awards and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases at the National Institutes of Health.

The APS is a professional scientific organization devoted to fostering scientific research, education and the dissemination of scientific information. For more information, visit

This page originally appeared in the Sept. 2, 2005 issue of Pieces of Eight. Complete issue is archived at