Team:WalthamHS BioHawks/History/outreach



In the fall of 2013, a group of Waltham High School students applied to the Waltham Education and Beyond Foundation for a grant to support the creation of its first iGEM team. The team was awarded a grant from the Sally Elizabeth Peters memorial grant program, the first grant ever awarded directly to a student group! Sally Elizabeth Peters was a Waltham student who died at a young age. She was a "renaissance kind of student", interested in a wide range of subjects, from music to science. Her parents created this scholarship program to fund ideas that bring together diverse groups within the Waltham community that support both the arts and the sciences.

Our iGEM team is now part of the larger Waltham High community. The whole school supports our team, helping and encouraging us to strive and achieve our goals. We interviewed students and teachers about our project and told them our main focus and goal of the club. Before each interview, we informed them that we were transporting a prokaryotic gene segment into E.coli. When this gene is in the bacteria, it can express it, secreting it for extraction and application. We also told the interviewees that the team is participating in the iGEM competition in June. We explained that iGEM is an international genetically engineered machine competition and we will be presenting our project to a team of judges via verbal presentation and poster session.

Question: How do you feel this iGEM team, dedicated to the new frontier of biology, can impact the community within Waltham High School?

-Mr. Diluzio (History teacher): "Amazing - competition drives ingenuity - it is innovative. It's important for WHS to be on the cutting edge of science."

-Mr. Leach (Math teacher): "Awesome. This is a great thing for the school to take part in. It is an experience that's not repetitive in the classroom. An inquisitive student culture will help benefit the school as a whole. It is so nice to hear about students creating something original."

-Student Colin Holmes: "You should always try to find new things to do, it expands new opportunities. Follow your dreams."

-Student Courtney Paschal: "This program gets students to think more and reach their full potential. It can create better communication and leadership among students."'

-Student Charlene Preys: "This program can help students become more involved and interested - really useful!"