Cerveny transitions from lab researcher to teacher

Jacob Hepp, Staff Writer

Former lab researcher and current AP Biology teacher Charles Cerveny is stepping up to the plate in his first year at Liberty, and his first year as a teacher. He replaces Dr. Erin Stephens, who is currently on maternity leave.
“Well, the students are really great and patient with me,” Cerveny said. “It may not look like it, but I put a lot of time in trying to get what I get done, done. There’s a lot of preparation because they’re on a shorter timeline, and we’ve got a lot of big labs to do.”
Along with his teaching duties, Cerveny is the advisor for the Dungeons and Dragons club and also does tutoring for biology after school, spending a lot of his new time at school with the students.
“They’ve been tolerant, good students,” Cerveny said. “I want to make it a very good class, and being a perfectionist, it has to be perfect my first year—there’s no learning curve allowed.”
Before he was a teacher, Cerveny was a lab researcher for twenty years.
“I attempted to develop various drugs for various types of cancers, and also worked in some basic cancer biology-type research, like figuring out what radiation does to your cells, and what certain nutrients do to your immune system,” Cerveny said. “I mostly just focused on drug development though, so a lot of in-lab type work, a lot of work with doing tumor models in mice.”
By contrast, one of the big labs that the AP Bio class is doing involves the studying of slugs, a vast difference from his previous cancer studies.
“So one of the big labs we need to do in AP Bio is just a basic animal behavior lab, and the main idea is that it’s another round of practice of planning an experiment, doing the experiment, and making conclusions,” Cerveny said.
Normally, other AP Bio classes would use isopods or fruit flies for this experiment, but Cerveny chose to go a different path by choosing to use slugs.
“…not a lot of people work with them,” Cerveny said. “They’re under appreciated, and I found a couple reports of AP Bio teachers doing this with slugs, so I figured hey, why not, it’s different.”
According to Cerveny, the experiment is not going to be a complicated one.
“Basically, there’s going to be choices between types of food, you know, like French fry or spinach, which do you want,” Cerveny said. “It’s not a really complicated experiment, just planning and analyzing data.
Students are also enthusiastic about the experiment.
“I’m excited to do the experiment,” said senior Sara Flash. “It will be cool to see what we’re learning happen in real life.”
To sum up the whole experience in Cerveny’s words: “Slugs are cool.”