Having a virtual science professor for a semester with #VROC

This past semester our Grade 11 Biology class was paired virtually with researcher / professor Dr. Ilona Skerjanc from University of OttawaVirtual Researcher On Call (VROC)’s program “On the Fly” matches a researcher from a higher education institution to a classroom for multiple check ins within the semester over ClearSea video conferencing software.

Dr. Skerjanc was an amazing partner for our class.  She not only shared her work and experience in biochemistry but mentored and became a role model for the students.  Dr. Skerjanc enriched our biology class with ground breaking research she is doing with stem and muscle cells.  She made connections between grade 11 biology and the work she is doing currently.  Students were highly engaged in her talks, asking questions, making connections to our course work and getting a feel for a career in science.   Dr. Skerjanc also spoke about personal life choices and how to balance a family while being a researcher / professor.  She emphasized to the students to do what makes them happy and most importantly enjoy the work they are doing.

Students reported:

–       getting ready for university, it was great to hear from a professor about what university is like

–       the video calls were informative and exciting

–       hearing career opportunities first hand was great

–       Dr. Skerjanc cared and made a connection to the class

She was great compliment as I also started in biochemistry but never did graduate work in biochemistry, so the students go to see two different pathways from the same undergraduate program.

Thank you Dr Skerjanc and the VROC team for such a great experience for the grade 11 biology class at Cedarbrae C.I. at TDSB.

Brandon Zoras and the Cedarbrae C.I. Biology class.

Below are two slides and a video she shared with us of beating cardiac cells.


Skerjanc slide 1Skerjanc slide 2


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