By Kyle Hietala
DCPS Office: Office of Teaching and Learning, Health and Phys. Ed.
Education: Rising Senior at George Washington University
Program of Study/Major: Public Health
Hometown: Western Springs, Illinois
“Yesterday, I got into a bike accident,” Jameson mused. “I thought my bike could get over the curb, but it couldn’t.”
This summer, Jameson is working on developing curricular resources for a 2nd grade bike riding program. She’s not riding with the 2nd graders, though; she’s filming them. Jameson is compiling a video portfolio for physical education teachers and volunteers to use, to make teaching kids how to ride a bike into a more orderly, less chaotic ordeal. Additionally, she’s creating how-to videos for cooking lessons. Jameson models cooking skills, like how to chop vegetables, and creates short video modules to accompany lesson plans.
A lot of her work happens away from a cubicle and computer screen. She’s “really happy to go to schools,” because it’s “so helpful to see the lessons and how they play out.” Even though she’s an aspiring policy wonk, Jameson appreciates seeing the tangible, on-the-ground impact of big programs. “One girl I filmed on her bike was really struggling in the beginning, but a few weeks later, she was doing great.” She describes that on-the-ground work as the “most rewarding part” of her summer work.
Jameson comes from a family of teachers, but is more interested in big-picture issues and work around public health and sustainability. “Public health is closely related to education,” she observed. Good health education, in her opinion, is more about giving kids concrete skills they can use in their lives, rather than making them sponge up facts and figures about nutrition or exercise. “You can teach kids about grams of sugar or have them memorize names of vitamins, but that doesn’t usually change how they act or eat,” she pointed out. Jameson appreciates the approach that DCPS takes in teaching kids how to exercise and how to cook healthy food, an approach that is heavily hands-on. “These things you learn in school can affect you for the rest of your life,” Jameson said.
In the future, Jameson hopes to pursue a Master’s Degree in either Public Health or Public Policy. “All of my policy classes in college have been my favorite classes,” she said. “I’m really interested in both making policy and implementing it.” Though she isn’t ready to commit to one specific track, she wants to approach health and sustainability issues from a big-picture perspective. For now though, she’s focusing on refreshing her own bike-riding skills, with a little bit of help from the 2nd graders in her videos.