Dr. Stephanie Tzall, Biology
Dr. Stephanie Tzall is Brooklyn Tech's genetics teacher, and has been for more than 15 years. What started off as
a great teaching opportunity turned into an even greater one as the school's genetics facilities expanded; now,
genetics is one of the many college-level programs offered at the school, as she explains to us:
Teaching at Brooklyn Tech is a second career for me. Before teaching high school I completed a PhD in population
genetics, and then worked as a laboratory molecular geneticist in human genetics.
When I decided to make a change, I came to Tech for an interview. The assistant principal asked me if I would teach
a class in genetics and if I would write the curriculum. It was the happiest interview I ever had.
Writing and teaching the genetics class has always been a wonderful and creative experience for me. I modify and customize the class for the Tech students, who are smart, interested and motivated, and so each topic can be discussed in great depth. The class has always been for seniors in the various Biology majors.
About ten years ago the Alumni Foundation and I co-wrote a grant for constructing and furnishing a DNA laboratory/classroom. Today, that room, 5N8, is where the genetics classes are held. The room is set up for activities and laboratories in both classical Mendelian genetics as well as modern molecular genetics. Additionally, 5N8 is used for after-school student Urban Barcode genetics projects and Math for America genetics workshops for teachers at other schools.
I get a lot of my ideas from the Tech students. The questions that current students ask help me to refine the material presented. And former students frequently email or visit and tell me about their college classes, what was presented, what was relevant and helpful from their Tech genetics class.