Thursday, January 15, 2009

Mmmm...suckling pig!

One of the great things about being home is realizing that yes, while I don't have a TV at school, sometimes it is just nice to sit on the couch in the living room, turn on Food Network, and gasp at the beautiful food.

The particular episode of Iron Chef that was on that night was on suckling pig.


I'm not going to post a picture in the interest of not scaring away readers, yet as a scientist, I find the suckling pig a rather interesting specimen. First, I have dissected into the double digits of fetal pigs in my life as a student and teaching assistant, and I find it interesting to no end, every time I do it (even though, yes, they smell, and yes, I HATE touching the string that is always soaked in pig juice). And even now...I miss it. I miss being around people who are just as excited about cecum as I am. Instead, I have people who get their kicks from coding. Which is fine...I just miss biology majors.

And even the bio majors here don't have the same comprehensive anatomy/physiology-based curriculum I had in undergrad...I mean, I didn't take cell biology. Or molecular biology. Or molecular genetics. And that's the biology I am expected to know here. Instead, I find myself spouting random factoids in class about the histology slides in that paper we read, or talking about how respiration really works. And I really like that. I miss the part of my life that was teaching and talking to other students about cool awesome biology stuff.

Hence, once of my next projects (of the bazillion I have) is to try and create a K-12 learning module on malaria. Well, the first step is actually seeing what is out there...and if there isn't much, seeing what I can come up with or possible partners. Malaria is just such a complex issue that deserves a lot of thought, and it would be a great way to increase scientific literacy in the context of health, world issues, economics, culture, the environment...I could talk about it all day. In fact, it would be a REALLY cool job to do this for a living. Take a subject, customize for different grade levels, visit schools and perform these modules in an effort to teach something new and different.

Adults may decry the thought of getting everyone involved in these complicated issues and "not paying enough attention to test scores," but I maintain that by not providing opportunities which take advantage of and encourage creativity, we're doing our nation a grave disservice...the next generation of entrepreneurs, artists, and researchers won't have the breadth and ability to make changes happen.

Call me idealistic if you will, but I want to expect a great deal from the people around me, and I feel like my life should be spent enabling others to help them live up to that expectation. And the amazing thing is that this could come from working in public health, sustainability, research, a government job, teaching... No wonder I have no idea what I want to do for the rest of my life.

And this post started with suckling pig. Yes, yes it did. Oh boy.

1 comment:

M. said...

Even when I was an omnivore, I never ever ever understood why anyone would want to eat suckling pig. I hear that and think "little baby nursing piggy."


Did you hear about PETA's "sea kitten" concept? They need a new PR department.