Karen Camacho (Chemistry and Biology ’20) taught Kitchen Chemistry and Other Biochemical Applications at a school in Russian city of Yekaterinburg through MISTI Global Teaching Labs (GTL) over IAP 2018.
Karen demonstrating a chemical reaction in her Kitchen Chemistry class with Russian students.

Karen's host school was SESC of the Ural Federal University in Yekaterinburg, Russia. “This mostly involved learning about various chemical and biological processes and how they apply to the process of making and eating certain foods. Overall, we covered lessons on proteins, oils and fats, nucleic acids, carbohydrates, bread, ice cream, chocolate, meringues, cheese, butter, and various other topics,” she explains.

The workshop Karen developed for the school was very hands-on, and experiments helped students either visualize a concept or be able to apply the lesson to the making of certain foods.

“Upon arrival, I also asked the students as to what other material they would like to see and they expressed interest in Organic Chemistry. As a result, 2-3 lectures were focused on Organic Chemistry and included several opportunities for them to practice and interact with one another,” she added.

When in Russia, Karen and another GTL student, Rayden Chia, became some sort of celebrities with TV and radio interviews and meetings with public officials lining up. Russians were excited to have them as guests and eager to learn why these two adventurous MIT students decided to come to their city, located at the boundary between Asia and Europe.

"The GTL Russia Program provided me with an experience unlike any other. Being able to teach students about subjects I’m passionate about while simultaneously being given the opportunity to learn about the customs and traditions of a foreign country was incredible. Participating in the GTL Russian Program was one of the best decisions I could have made this IAP and it has left me with memories that will last a lifetime,” Karen says.

Being able to teach students about subjects I’m passionate about while simultaneously being given the opportunity to learn about the customs and traditions of a foreign country was incredible.

  • Russia
  • Teaching
  • Bio/Chem