Nihal studies how we can integrate chronobiology in secondary school education!

July 18, 2022

Nihal Fawzi has recently started her PhD trajectory at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. She will investigate how the topics of circadian clock, daily rhythms and its impact on health can be incorporated in the biology education at high school across the Netherlands. Together with her supervisors dr. Marco Kragten and dr. Bert Bredeweg, she will design a new programme and evaluate it during her project.

Image by Nihal Fawzi

Tell us a little about yourself, who are you, where are you from and what are your hobbies?

My name is Nihal Fawzi. I currently live in Rotterdam. I also lived in Dubai for about five years and I am originally from Egypt. Both my parents are Egyptian but my sisters and I were born in the Netherlands. I like to visit my family and friends in Egypt. Unfortunately, this was not possible in the last two years due to COVID-19. Besides traveling to Egypt I am a real globetrotter. I like to travel and I have visited many countries so far. I am fond of different landscapes and cultures. According to my opinion traveling is a way of gaining knowledge of so many aspects that you can’t learn by staying in one location only. I also love outside activities such as outdoor sports, hiking, cycling and my latest hobby is nature photography.

What is your background?

I am a Biology, Geography and NLT teacher in Secondary Education. I have worked as a teacher for approximately sixteen years and the last two years I have been the Department Leader of Biology Education. I have studied both Biology ( -bachelor and master of education- ) and Geography ( -bachelor of education- ). Later on, I specialized in becoming a bilingual teacher for both subjects. I have obtained a certificate for English Language Arts from the University of Cambridge. Furthermore, I have completed a course on teaching Big History, which is an upcoming subject in Secondary Education.

What is your project about?

In our project, we will develop and evaluate an educational program for use in secondary education. The aim is to ensure a deep understanding regarding the daily behavior of organisms, the impact on the biological clock, and ultimately the consequences for health. The goal is to stay close to the Biology curriculum as provided by the Dutch government. It is therefore important to combine the biological clock with the central nervous system, ecology and understanding biological rhythms in different organisms such as mammals, plants and insects.

To start off, my supervisors and I will focus on system thinking and conceptual modelling regarding the change and complexity of the biological clock.

When did you first hear about the biological clock?

I actually read a lot about the matter in the last few years. But I hardly realized that the biological clock was involved in so many subjects across health, behavior and environment. In the last year I started to deepen my understanding on the biological clock and biological rhythms as I had students wanting to research the topic for their Profile Research. As a teacher I find it important to stay informed on the newest developments around Biology and Geography. I think there is still a lot to learn about the circadian clock and rhythms. That is why I was highly interested in the position of Ph.D. candidate: BioClock and Education.

What is something that people should know about you?

I am known for being an active and very adventurous person. I always like to try new things. I am a people person too, I find socializing very important. Meeting new people is part of the fun I guess. Laughter is an important factor in my life. I like having fun with my friends and family.

I have an Instagram account where I post all of my “Nature Photographs” named: outdoors_with_nihal. And yes, I love animals! They are the best.

To contact Nihal: n.fawzi@hva.nl


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The BioClock Consortium is funded by the NWA-ORC programme of the Dutch Research Council (NWO; project number 1292.19.077).