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National DNA Day Awards: 2008

In 2008, NHGRI and the Education and Community Involvement Branch have created small-funding opportunities for groups to create National DNA Day programs in their community.

For National DNA Day 2008, four DNA Day small awards were made to:

Wisconsin Department of Health

National DNA Day activities in Wisconsin will utilize the considerable knowledge and commitment of its genetic counselors. These dedicated professionals will visit secondary schools all across the state to deliver educational presentations, lead genetics-related activities, and provide information about careers in this quickly expanding field. Schools will be invited to submit requests for speakers. Those schools which demonstrate a strong desire to participate in National DNA Day will be given top priority in the selection process, as will those in which a significant proportion of the student population comprises a demographic currently underrepresented in the field of genetics.

At this time, approximately 25 genetic counselors have volunteered their time and expertise, meaning up to 50 schools in Wisconsin could host a speaker on National DNA Day. The Wisconsin State Genetics Program, in partnership with the National Human Genome Research Institute, will assist the counselors in constructing informative and stimulating programs, all focused on promoting genetic knowledge and interest in the student population, the next generation of the genetics workforce.

Oklahoma City Community College

The Biotechnology/Bioinformatics Discovery (BBD) Team at Oklahoma City Community College (OCCC) has designed a DNA Day celebration to engage secondary teachers and their students all across Oklahoma. Up to 300 Oklahoma students and their teachers will come to OCCC, located in the center of the state, to participate in the DNA Day Symposium, consisting of panels of speakers for topics that include clinical trials, stem cells, newborn screening, biomedical research careers, families living with genetic diversity, and Native American perspectives on the science culture. After a lunch that includes time to browse educational exhibits on related topics, attendees will view the performance of Ferocious Beauty: Genome, presented by the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange.

Oklahoma students and teachers who cannot attend the symposium will be invited to create their own DNA Day activities, using materials provided by the OCCC BBD project. High school students become the teachers: they will do a DNA extraction or make a DNA origami model with either their parents or with middle school students to celebrate DNA Day.

The BBD team at OCCC consists of Dr Charlotte Mulvihill and two project Coordinators, Donald Bell and DeAnn Campbell, and is supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health/National Center for Research Resources/State Environmental Policy Act program. Bessie Bryant of NE Academy, an Oklahoma City public school, created our model of students as teachers for DNA Day.

Miami University in Ohio

We will conduct a dynamic program to educate high school teachers and their students about the science of DNA, the Human Genome Project, and career opportunities in this field. In doing so we will capitalize on the motivational aspects of games, Web-based explorations, and similar creative endeavors to support student learning, authentic assessment, and community outreach. A high school teacher academy will provide teachers with a review of DNA science and major scientific discoveries related to DNA, hands-on experiences with some genetics research techniques, and information about the science and future of the Human Genome Project.

Teachers will also gain experience using the online tools needed to lead their students through an interdistrict learning experience called the "DNA Mystery Game" and to facilitate students' communication of their learning through the development of creative assessment products, such as U-tube style movies, comic books, or other creative work, which will serve as the outreach vehicle for DNA Day. High school students will be exposed to interesting careers in genetics, be involved in role-playing one of these careers, work as part of a team to solve a genetics problem, and be immersed in the process of science.

The project will be conducted by the PI team of Sarquis and Schussler with the support of experts in the field and the resources of Miami University's Center for Chemistry Education and Departments of Botany and Microbiology.

University of Nebraska Medical Center

The Human Genome Project has captured the attention of the general public as much as the space race a generation ago. To celebrate and commemorate the ongoing discoveries in genome science we will set up DNA Day programs in high schools on six Indian reservations in Nebraska and South Dakota. These programs will include discussion topics, slide shows, video presentations and "hands-on" science.

We will begin with a basic introduction of DNA, genes and chromosomes. We will show some video clips from the Conversation in Genetics series of some of the pioneers in genetics. The genetics of the senses focusing on taste, hearing and sight will be the first of the hands-on line-up. This will be followed by another hands-on activity, DNA extraction. Slide shows that highlight opportunities in genetics and genetic disease will be presented. Genetics coming to life will be demonstrated by another hands-on activity: Reebops. Since this program is designed for students on Indian reservations, we will produce a video that highlights Native Americans who have entered the field of genetics. We will close the program with an interactive discussion of the ethical and social issues in genetics and the Human Genome Project.

Last updated: July 16, 2013