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Patty Jaacks

The Biology of Patty Jaacks

Becoming a biology instructor wasn’t Patty Jaacks dream in high school; she wanted to be a gym teacher.  “I applied to Cortland for gym and was accepted and was also accepted into SUNY Plattsburg for medical technology. I was having a hard time choosing and luckily my father helped direct me to what suited me best, and ultimately what became my calling.”  Patty graduated from SUNY Plattsburg with her bachelor’s degree in medical technology.  She began working at Samaritan Medical Center as a generalist and quickly moved to the microbiology lab where she worked for 17 years.

In 1989 she graduated from SUNY Potsdam with her master in science degree in education and credits the med tech students from Jefferson for sparking her interest in teaching. “The JCC students in the med tech program would come to Samaritan for their clinical rotations and I just fell in love with teaching them.” Patty developed and directed the hospital based Medical Laboratory Technician Certificate Program (MLT-C) and under her leadership, the MLT-C Program earned two successful accreditation surveys through the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences.  She began as an adjunct instructor at Jefferson in 1990 and when the hospital eventually discontinued the MLT-C Program, she was hired as a full-time microbiology instructor at Jefferson. “Many of my students who sign up for my course have so much trepidation at first; but as time goes on I get to see how excited and engaged they become in my class and for me as a teacher, that is the most rewarding part.” 

Having that sense of apprehension for the sciences is something Patty has been working hard to fight against. One of her passions is not only to help young kids become interested in science and math, but to try and keep them interested and excited as they enter the high school years when those subjects get harder and more intense.  This was the goal when creating Super Science Saturday (SSS) at Jefferson. “This was our 7th year and it has become a huge community event and has exceeded all of our expectations.”  SSS is a fun filled day where kids of all ages come to campus and see for themselves all the possible careers that can come out of the math and science majors. “Targeting kids mainly in grades 5-8 has proved to be so critical because these are the ages where they are most receptive and where we can begin to build relationships with them early on and continue to coach and encourage them as they grow and enter those tougher years.”  Feeling overwhelmed with their course work in high school is something Patty hears all the time and tries to encourage those students to stick with it and not to give up. “I love supporting the kids and getting to know them personally, and letting them see how passionate and enthusiastic I am about the sciences, and what a rewarding career it can be for them too.”

To learn more about our science programs at Jefferson, contact the admissions office at 315-786-2277

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