Engaging our youth will change lives. Through the hopes and dreams of young people will come the innovation and new opportunities that propel society forward. Today’s youth are the researchers, teachers, artists, business leaders, physicians, and entrepreneurs of tomorrow.
Advances in science and technology are rapidly changing society; they are affecting everything from how people engage with new products and services, to how students identify career paths and prepare for them. It is our youth who will benefit most from a greater knowledge and understanding of the relevance and impact that science and technology have on our everyday lives.
Increasingly, people from all walks of life require a basic understanding of the principles of science, technology, engineering, art & design and math (STEAM) and how they are applied. These skills, combined with other disciplines, teach us how to think critically, problem solve, and make informed decisions. They are becoming integral to every aspect of our lives, from cradle to grave, and are becoming more important with the advent and uptake of things like consumer genomics. Enhancing opportunities for education will empower people to make informed decisions and critically question the interpretation of results.
For over a decade, Genome BC has opened the minds of young people through comprehensive educational programming. Geneskool™ supports teachers by providing hands-on classroom activities and workshops aligned to BC’s grade 9–12 curricula to help educate students about this complex topic in new and interesting ways. And the Geneskool Summer Science Program is a week-long immersive experience where students learn the molecular biology techniques that scientists use every day. Through lab experiments and guest speakers, teens explore aspects of biotechnology, genomics, inheritance, virology, forensics and microbiology to solve a murder mystery. Geneskool is an extraordinary example of how science opportunities for youth can be enhanced, so that future generations grow up understanding, questioning and responsibly applying new technologies.
Today’s youth are the researchers, teachers, artists, business leaders, physicians, and entrepreneurs of tomorrow.
The opportunities to explore science extend beyond the classroom. For example, Genome BC provides activities and volunteers to Science World’s long-running Community Science Celebrations. These events, held around BC throughout the year, encourage people of all ages to participate in and discover the amazing science happening right in their own community. And with topics ranging from the mountain pine beetle to disappearing bees to salmon biology and ecology, our interactive exhibits focus on how genomics tools and technologies can help solve challenges in many of BC’s communities.
Through strategic partnerships, Genome BC has positioned genomics within the larger science learning ecosystem. We’ve helped foster collaboration and synergies between organizations committed to promoting the importance and the relevance of science in our lives. Genome BC is a founding signatory of the BC Science Charter and a partner of Symbiosis — a deeply collaborative, cross-sector initiative to develop a STEAM learning ecosystem. Symbiosis aims to become a vibrant, sustainable model with equitable access, for scaling the kinds of learning and careers needed in a knowledge-based economy.
The comprehensive education and community outreach programming Genome BC provides goes beyond increasing the awareness, understanding and value of genomics research and applications — our investment has helped our youth build character and confidence while preparing them to lead society into a future where science and technology expand our imaginations and enrich our lives.
This article appears in Genome BC’s 2018/19 Annual Report.
View the whole report here.