Teens 'Talk Science' with U of A Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry

(Edmonton) Graduate students from the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry have demonstrated how cool science really is during a series of workshops for high-school students, entitled “Let’s Talk Science.”

The hands-on workshops, held on Feb.15, focused on topics such as DNA and forensic science. The first workshop was called “Whodunnit,” where students learned about forensic science and how to do a DNA fingerprinting test. The second workshop, “DNA 101,” focused on DNA sequencing, while the third workshop, “Transformation,” gave students the opportunity to insert new DNA molecules into bacteria to see what processes this action triggered.

Jennifer Zwicker, a grad student with the faculty who volunteers with the Let’s Talk Science program, said the program is really rewarding.

“I love getting kids excited about science,” said the fourth-year neurophysiology PhD student who is studying how the brain controls breathing.

Zwicker took part in a science program when she was in Grade 11 that gave her the opportunity to work with a grad student in a university lab for a couple of months. Ever since then, she has been hooked on science. Knowing how the experience impacted her, Zwicker wanted to give students the same opportunity she had.

Elizabeth Walton, 18, one of the Grade 12 students taking part in the Let’s Talk Science workshops, said the chance to conduct DNA experiments was “pretty cool. I’ve never done anything like this before. It’s pretty neat. I really like science. It’s one of my better subjects.”

Her classmate, Sheryl Rasi, 16, said she was excited to have the opportunity to work with high-tech equipment at the university and learn more about DNA. She said she is interested in a career related to medicine. “The knowledge I learn today, I could use in school right now and later on in university.”

Alberta Innovates-Health Solutions has partnered with the Let’s Talk Science program co-ordinators through the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry to host these workshops at both the U of A campus and in various schools. The agency provides scientific support, lab facilities and training for the workshops, while Let’s Talk Science co-ordinators find graduate student volunteers to run the activities for students of all ages.

To see the YouTube video from the workshops go here

To view Flickr photos from the workshops go here:

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