Introduction for Teachers & Guidance Counselors
Science has always been a daunting subject, even for the most motivated student. And now revolutions in the fields of genomics and genetics are changing the way scientists view subjects ranging from medicine to technology. It’s all expanding quickly, and what was once confusing has become a little intimidating too. A student eager to pursue a career in science needs help navigating the process now more than ever.
So it’s a good thing you’re here.
As educators and counselors, you’re among the most important people in a young adult’s life. And while it’s true that each student has to find their own way, your experience and perspective are invaluable as they take the first steps on the path to professional and personal accomplishment. We hope this Genomic Careers website can serve as a trusted tool in your effort to guide students toward careers that allow them to flourish personally while contributing to the advancement of human knowledge and the betterment of society.
The Genomic Careers website is a project initiated by the Education and Community Involvement Branch of the National Human Genome Research Institute. The site’s goal is to help students discover the many opportunities related to genomics and genetics. Through video-based, interactive interviews, career profiles, and an interactive game, students learn about careers available in these fields. And the more they explore the world of genomics and genetics, the better prepared they will be to take part in the next generation that drives scientific discovery forward.
Students visiting the Genomic Careers website will find the following features to guide and help them learn about genomic careers:
Career Tracker: Visitors to the website are encouraged to sign up for Career Tracker, a tool that helps them keep track of careers they like best. Students rate careers and video interviews on a scale of one to five stars. The more ratings they assign, the easier it is for Career Tracker to recommend which direction they might want to consider on their path to the right career.
Career Tracker makes it easy for students to gain some perspective. It tracks each career and video they’ve rated and, based on the ratings, lets them know which career categories they’ve shown particular interest in. The MyStatistics and MyFavorites features help them track how many things they’ve rated and lets them know their overall progress so they can keep moving forward and get the most out of the Genomic Careers website. Career Tracker will even suggest what students could do next to get the most from the site as possible.
Interactive Videos: This site features interviews and tours of cutting edge facilities at the heart of the genomic revolution. Conducted by Kyle, Fatima, and Berden, who act as tour guides, each interview or tour provides excellent insight into the lives and workplaces of those involved in genomics and genetics careers. Our guides conduct the interviews in a casual manner, keeping the atmosphere fun and friendly while still getting some very important information across. The interviewees and their work environments seem real and natural, not distant and part of another world.
Interviews were conducted with professionals in various careers related to genomics and genetics, ranging from young people just starting their careers to nationally recognized leaders in their fields. Some interviews are extended and focus on subjects’ backgrounds and professional lives, while shorter interviews are more ad-hoc, spotlighting genomic workers doing their actual jobs. With the longer interviews, students can also utilize the Ask feature. This allows students to jump ahead to questions that interest them most.
In addition to the interviews, our guides also take us through tours of a variety of genomic and genetic facilities. These include research labs and offices of government agencies, private business, and educational institutions Students will see an array of settings where people working in genomics and genetics are working to make our lives better.
When available, links to related videos are posted under the video being viewed. When students see something that interests them, they can continue exploring what others in the same or similar fields have to say. Most interview videos also include links to the related Career Profiles where a lot more information can be found.
Also, directly below each video, students will find a feature where they can assign a video a rating of between one and five stars. Each selection will be recorded in Career Tracker and will contribute toward a better determination of which genomic and genetic careers students like best.
All videos are closed-captioned and include transcripts.
Career Profiles: Students can browse a database containing profiles of around 50 genomics and genetics careers and learn more about what it takes to succeed in those fields. Each profile features a job description, career outlook, and description of working conditions, in addition to general education requirements, average earnings figures, and other information.
A TV icon at the top of a career profile means there are video interviews or tours associated with that career. Students can click through from a career profile a video that helps put what they’ve just read into real-life context.
Genomics Challenge: Students who are already pursuing careers in genomics and genetics fields were interviewed about their career aspirations and the courses they’ve taken along the way. From these interviews, we created the Genomics Challenge.
A series of six video interviews plays in random order. The students tell us about themselves, but they do not say name the career they’re pursuing. While the video is playing, the player selects from a list of career titles which career they think the student is pursuing. After all six videos have played, the game concludes and the player is told their score.
While fun, the main purpose of this challenge is to give students an introduction to people closer to them in age—young adults who have decided to pursue genomic careers. Some students may have trouble imagining themselves in the same positions, but hopefully they can identify with these younger people and be encouraged to follow similar courses.
Resources: While the Genomic Careers website is a formidable tool of its own, it also includes a section of internet-based resources where students can continue exploring the world of genomics and genetics. With links to reputable learning resources, professional organizations, and science news sources, it’s a great resource for teachers, too.
Note that this website can help meet state standards for Career Education. Please consult your state’s standards for more information.
Your perspective as educators and counselors means a great deal. Any comments, corrections, and other feedback you have to share will only make this Genomic Careers website a more effective and positive experience in your students’ education. Use the form below to contact us regarding anything you have to share: