July 20, 2015
Local students learn medical genetics at Genome BC Geneskool Summer Camp
High school students from Nanaimo, Lantzville and Gabriola Island will become the next medical genetics experts as Genome BC’s Geneskool Summer Camp returns to Vancouver Island University (VIU) for an intensive five-day workshop.
Through hands-on activities in state-of-the-art lab facilities, students will learn about genetics, advancements in genetic testing, inheritance, visualizing chromosomes, ethics in genetics and much more. The students analyze a fictitious family and put their newfound knowledge to use to solve the mystery of the Mendelson family. This popular outreach program illustrates the use of genomics in everyday life and affords participants an opportunity to learn new methods and techniques that they can apply to upcoming science courses once the school year begins.
This year the camp will host guest speaker Dr. Michelle Steinraths. Dr. Steinraths has been a Clinical Geneticist on Vancouver Island for the last nine years and is a Clinical Assistant Professor with the UBC Department of Medical Genetics. She will be talking with the students about what her work encompasses and the impact of the Human Genome Project on her medical practice.
The Genome BC Geneskool program has been involved in communities throughout BC since 2004. Summer camp has been available since 2009.
“Students are really enthusiastic about summer camp because it highlights the fun and relevance of science to their everyday lives and they get to see what life is like in a real university laboratory setting” says Sally Greenwood, Vice President, Communications and Education at Genome BC. “Campers get an opportunity to utilize new tools, learn firsthand from experts in the field, and explore the potential applications and impact of genomic technologies on society.”
Part of the program is designed to get students working in teams to learn about science in a cooperative manner. The students will be spending time at VIU where they will have an opportunity to explore the applications of genetic technologies beyond the lab by considering the science from social and ethical perspectives. The program is set in a university laboratory so participants are able to conduct real experiments using state-of-the-art equipment.
“Our aim is that, after attending Genome BC Geneskool camp, students will continue to appreciate the value of science and math in today’s knowledge-based economy. We are hopeful that students not only develop greater understanding of genetic sciences, but realize the wealth of opportunity that exists in scientific disciplines,” says Greenwood.
“The impact and applications of genome sciences in this century will be profound and far-reaching and we believe it is important that as a society we understand it,” says Dr. Alan Winter, President & CEO of Genome BC. “Engaging students in innovative education programs such as ‘Genome BC Geneskool’ helps them understand the significance of the science in a way that is accessible and exciting.”