TMC and ‘Teachers in Industry’ create hospital/classroom link

SheilaWhen Sheila Marquez was a little girl, she would fill her summers playing school with the kids in her neighborhood under her porch. She was always the teacher.

And now, with 16 years of teaching science to high school students under her belt, the Tucson High Magnet School anatomy teacher will be taking on a new role, as a summer employee of Tucson Medical Center, Southern Arizona’s 15th largest employer.

The Teachers in Industry program, established in 2009 by the University of Arizona College of Education, Tucson Values Teachers, Science Foundation Arizona and Raytheon Missile Systems, is designed to give teachers firsthand knowledge of industry skills to better prepare students to enter the future workforce.

The program is geared to teachers of math, science, engineering and technology, allowing them to bring best practices and real-world experience back to the classroom.

“With more than 3,000 employees, Tucson Medical Center is an economic engine that relies heavily on skilled workers,” said Richard Lawley, Vice President of Human Resources at Tucson Medical Center. “We’re pleased to participate in the Teachers in Industry program because not only will we gain an employee for the summer who will contribute in meaningful ways, but what Sheila will learn will translate into instructing students who are better-prepared to meet our workforce needs in the future.”

Marquez, who teaches anatomy and physiology, comes by her interests naturally. Her mother is a chemist, her father a tool-and-die worker, building high-precision parts. She jokes that she always wanted to be Quincy M.E., from the television series that traced the puzzles of a Los Angeles County medical examiner.

A former lab technician at the University of Arizona, Marquez taught six years at Flowing Wells before transitioning to Tucson High.

SheilaMugThe long hours and busy pace of teaching – some studies have indicated teachers make more than 1,500 educational decisions every school day, from juggling content, to grading papers, to communicating with students and parents – are worth it, Marquez said, every time a student comes back and tells her she made a difference. She recently attended the wedding of a former student, who graduated from college with a physiology degree and is applying for medical school. “To see them all grown up and successful, it is an amazing feeling,” she said.

Marquez, whose daughter had an operation at TMC, said she was hoping to land a connection in a hospital or as a biomedical researcher to best fit her interests and serve her students. “At this age, students are starting to wake up, thinking about their lives moving forward,” she said. “I want my students to know what avenues exist out there.”

More than 40 businesses statewide have provided industry experience to nearly 100 teachers in the Teachers in Industry program. To learn more, please visit:


  1. smurray says:

    What a wonderful soul you are. You are such a bright light amidst the gray haze. Thank you for your contribution to us all.

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Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461
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