Empowering the next generation in STEM

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If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow — John Dewey

The First Edition of our DNA Summer Camp was a Blast
Yes…it has come and gone! Our debut DNA Science Summer Camp for high schoolers is probably the first of its kind in the country. For eight days, five high school students were immersed in the labyrinth of molecular biology and some of its varied applications in biomedical industry, synthetic biology, and forensic science.

These amazing and daring students were exposed to an avalanche of topics, laced with hands-on activities, ranging from cell microscopy, DNA isolation (from Strawberry and cheek cells), Gel electrophoresis, the flow of genetic information to amino acids and protein folding. We also talked about genetic mutation, citing common examples within our environment, and its socio-economic implications.

Because we realize that one of the biggest hurdles confronting scientists today is making sense of all the genomic data that is being churned out per second, and taking the advantage of the fact that these students are tech savvy,

Hmm…it was very interesting in the sense that we did different areas of DNA, experiments and other cool stuffs. — Wonuola

we decided to introduce them to bioinformatics during which we taught them how to identify and navigate databases (genomic, proteomic and metabolomics) (visit our gallery to see more pictures).
To crown it all up, we had discussions on different scenarios bordering on bioethics. This was meant to expose them to some of the moral dynamics of the genomic era and its implications.

Why did we organize this DNA summer camp for high schoolers? I can give you a whole lot of reasons, but more importantly, we believe this generation of students is underserved in terms of Hands-on learning and their level of awareness of the limitless opportunities in STEM. And if Moore’s law continues to be true, then we can be sure that technology will continue to be the most significant driver of socio-economic growth globally. Consequently, it behooves us to strive to stimulate their interest in STEM and also to open their eyes to the multitude of career options that are promising in the fourth industrial revolution. In essence, these kids need to know and value application of cutting-edge knowledge, which is changing our world!

However, one DNA summer camp will not suffice to do the “magic”, but what we have done is a step in the right direction as one of the parents of the campers had this to say a couple of days after the summer camp:

“Thanks so much for a great camp! Zara enjoyed it to the fullest. It’s what we need in Lagos! More camps that cut across different disciplines and give teenager insights in what you can do with knowledge. Building their interests by applying knowledge to the real world!”
Guys, this is just the beginning! Watch out for our next edition because it’s going to be…absolutely awesome.

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