Former ATHENA participants and University of Washington co-directors convened at the UW in July of 2018 to document ATHENA’s impact, revisit program goals and discuss ways to measure its future effectiveness.
After four years of ATHENA trainings, the program has now reached 64 teachers,34 schools,33 districts across Washington State and more than 4,400 students.
"While the original idea was to expose middle- and high-school science teachers to the expertise of UW science researchers, ATHENA now also supports teachers developing and piloting new environmental health-focused lessons and activities," said Jon Sharpe, one of the programs first directors.
“When we first started doing outreach to schools, there was a sense that we really needed to get students to do lab-based experiments so we could nurture future environmental health scientists,” Sharpe said.
Today, “there’s a new emphasis on really big, interdisciplinary problems like climate change, the built environment and health disparities—problems that will require all sorts of expertise to tackle in the coming years.”students about the nutritional differences between natural and artificial sweeteners, the health effects of vaping and other environmental health topics."
Lindzee Alvarez, a health teacher at Interlake High School in Bellevue and one of ATHENA’s first participants, was instrumental in getting ATHENA materials to be formally adopted into the Bellevue School District core curriculum where they now reach all high school students.