Team:Alverno CA/Human Practices

Human Practices

Education and Outreach

We decided that our team wanted to reach out to the younger students in our community and educate them on synthetic biology at the most basic level. By putting on several workshops, both at local elementary schools and our own school, we were able to promote scientific thinking at an early age and introduce students to the world of synthetic biology.

7th Grade School Visit

Four team members (Amanda, Katie, Asia, and Brianna) visited a local middle school and taught 60 seventh graders the basics of DNA and synthetic biology. They were able to extract DNA from strawberries using common household products. After this activity, the iGEM team members explained the results and answered the students’ questions. From this discussion period, the group was able to observe the students’ understanding of the project and their varying opinions. The four members asked the students what their thoughts were on the ethics and morals involved in synthetic biology. For a short period, contemporary advances of synthetic biology were discussed, comprising the future growth and possibilities of the rapidly proliferating field of study.

4th Grade School Visit

Team members Asia and Hanaa, visited St. Ignatius of Loyola, an elementary school located in Los Angeles, and worked with their fourth grade class. We provided a free STEM program consisting of various experiments and corresponding lesson plans. Through experimentation the children were able to learn the fundamentals of science. They were excited to share with us their hypotheses, observations, and silly commentary. From this experience, we learned the importance of outreach, and the importance of exposing children to science at a young age.

Synthetic Biology Workshop at Alverno

6-8th Grade students visited our school and team members Asia, Marisa, Hanaa, and Alicia hosted a pipetting and synthetic biology workshop. We did this in order to inform the prospective students about our science department and our iGEM project and lab practices. Each middle school student was equipped with a P20 micropipette, lab coats, gloves, and mock-gels. After a demonstration by one of our teammates, and a brief explanation of how micropipettes are used in the lab, the students then practiced pipetting various volumes of red dye into the practice gels. This practice session was followed with a more in depth presentation of our iGEM project and the importance of synthetic biology.

We have presented and reached out to other science classes at our school, and more students are becoming excited about synthetic biology. Students are interested in the technology and the bioethics involved.

Bioethics Discussion Bioethics Discussion
Freshman Honors Biology student, Natalee, discusses the bioethics of CRISPR/Cas9 and synthetic biology with the class

Google Hang-Outs

We had google hang-outs with the Peshawar, UCL, and Lambert HS iGEM teams. It was a great opportunity to exchange ideas and hear about the other teams’ experiences!


SoCalMeetup SoCalMeetup SoCalMeetup
The UCLA iGEM team invited us to a Southern California meet-up, where we got great feedback on our project and the wiki. We hosted a meet-up with the ULV-LC-CV iGEM Team at Alverno, where we had the opportunity to plan follow-up outreach plans for educating local schools about synthetic biology.

Future Plans

We plan to create a possible outreach system with the ULV/LC/CV as a way to get our school and other schools more involved in synthetic biology research. We plan on visiting other campuses in order to show them the extent of iGEM and demonstrate its significance in the world of research.

Social Media

We created a variety of social media accounts (TwitterYouTubeFacebookand Instagram) as a means to reach out to other teams, and to keep interested people informed about our progress.