BioGENEius Challenge 2018 Mentor of the Year Awardee

WASHINGTON--()--Today, the Biotechnology Institute announced the winner of the Mentor of the Year Award, who will be recognized next week at the 2018 Biotechnology Industry Organization Annual Convention (BIO 2018) in Boston.

Cara Pekarcik from North Quincy High School located in Quincy, Massachusetts exemplifies the dedication to STEM teaching that insures the future of innovation from generations of young to come. Cara has been teaching science at North Quincy since 2006 and was just recently recognized as 2018 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year.

Cara is a science teacher that believes education is not just what happens inside the four walls of a classroom and encourages educators to look beyond the walls of their classrooms to create curriculum that utilizes the interests, knowledge and resources of students, parents and the broader community. She strives to develop student interest and an understanding of how concepts apply to their lives to enhance student participation and learning. She also encourages the use of science and engineering practices as well as field-based activities to improve literacy and critical thinking skills in new content areas to make informed decisions with their knowledge.

Cara graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Psychobiology from Southampton College of Long Island University. Upon graduation, Cara began working at a Massachusetts, non-profit research organization where she studied demographics and behavior of endangered large whales. Cara’s responsibilities also included the role of educator/naturalist and soon her enthusiasm for education grew and steered her towards a career as a high school science teacher. In 2006, Cara began teaching at North Quincy. She later received her Master’s in Secondary Education (Biology) from the University of Massachusetts, Boston in 2011. She brings her field experience to the various levels of general biology, physical science, marine science, and zoology she teaches, including incorporating an annual whale watch trip into her curriculum and visits from local experts in related careers.

Cara is known for using these real-world examples to teach her students about science and biology. In class, she uses topics like the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food as starting points for student research and debates. Students acknowledge her as one of those teachers that makes learning fun and interesting, even if they aren't particularly interested in the subject. In short, her motivation is simple – she is doing what she loves.


Biotechnology Institute
Ashton Washington, 301-318-8411

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