Shaping the Community of Synthetic Biology

The ultimate goal of iGEM, is to create a better world through the advancement of synthetic biology, in terms of technological applications as well as community outreach. Waterloo iGEM identified several areas where iGEM’s approach to community outreach could be improved. These areas are: gender equity, ethics, and openness. We attempted to tackle the issue of gender equity and ethics by partnering with the University of Waterloo’s WiSTEM (Women in Science, Technolgy, Engineering, and Math) and conducting workshops with high school students interested in science and technology. As a result, we were able to encourage involvement in science and technology for students of all backgrounds and simultaneously foster an environment to impart the respect for ethical practices that is central to iGEM’s functioning. Waterloo iGEM sought to encourage openness by adopting a consistent presence on social media where we sought to simplify the concepts around synthetic biology and humanize the people working to advance it. When more parties are equipped to conduct this crucial dialogue in advancing the role of synthetic biology, we are all better equipped to create the practices, policies and regulations on the future of synthetic biology.

SYNBIO101: In collaboration with Women in STEM (WiSTEM), Waterloo iGEM executed a two-part workshop exploring the intersection between synthetic biology and gender equality.
Shad Valley: Waterloo iGEM hosted a three-fold synthetic biology workshop exploring aseptic laboratory techniques and the social, ethical, and legal implications of synthetic biology.
Social Media: In order to promote an open community, Waterloo iGEM asserted our presence on social media to expand our efforts in communicating our project to a wide and diverse group.