On 6 September 2021, schoolteacher Alexandra Schmidl joins CeMM as part of the Seitenwechsel program, which fosters fruitful exchanges among companies and teachers in Austria. During the next year, she will have a full immersion in the scientific environment at CeMM, the Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, where she will benefit from daily interactions with CeMM researchers. The knowledge and new techniques that she acquires, will be then applied in her teaching when she goes back to her classroom next year. CeMM will not only profit from her everyday school life know-how, but will also gain further insights into the school management system in the second phase of the program.
With a background in biology and PhD in biology and botany, Seitenwechsel candidate Alexandra Schmidl is a biology teacher as well as physics teacher for younger pupils at the “GRG 21 Schulschiff Bertha von Suttner” (boat high school) in Vienna. During her time at CeMM, Alexandra will work together with the RESOLUTE project team, and will be involved in the generation of cell lines using CRISPR-Cas9, and the validation of protein reagents, i.e. antibodies, nanobodies, sybodies, for solute carriers (SLCs).
Seitenwechsel is a spin-off of the MEGA Education Foundation, which promotes innovative educational initiatives in the areas of chance/fairness and business competence/life skills to support Austrian talent. On this year’s edition, the Seitenwechsel project has selected eight committed and determined teachers who will take the opportunity to deepen their experience by working in a company for a year. On the second phase, company managers will also participate in an exchange by joining the teachers’ schools for a few days to learn more about the school management on the second year. Teachers will also bring impulses from their professional experience back into their schools and implement these new fresh approaches in their teaching to better prepare the pupils for a successful start into their own career.
Continuing education, gaining knowledge, lifelong curiosity and the desire to help shape the future are essential criteria for success, both in the researchers' and the teachers' profession. As a pioneering and leading international biomedical research institute in Austria, CeMM is committed to making society more resilient to future challenges - through facts, competence and the promotion of collaboration and diversity in science.
CeMM supports gladly the Seitenwechsel initiative, and is looking forward to an enriching exchange with Alexandra, who will also bring new fresh ideas and ways of seeing the scientific world from the educators’ perspective. We wish Alexandra a great start and a very successful year, full of learning, engagement and fulfilling experiences at CeMM!