San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering
For the past three years, the SDCSB has provided support to graduate students from the BISB program who have developed a number of hands-on training modules for high school and middle school students, highlighting key concepts in bioinformatics including DNA alignment and genome assembly. To provide visual explanations that engage audiences, these activities use diverse props such as remote control cars and origami. Recently, the students presented their activities at the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering EXPO Day at Petco Park. This was their third time participating in this annual festival, which features more than 35 events and attracts more than 55,000 attendees. These students have also presented their activities at DNA Day (Oct 11, 2014) and Military Families Day (Nov 9, 2014) at the Fleet Science Center as part of the exhibit “Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code.”
From 2013 to 2015, the SDCSB supported an after-school program for elementary students in Los Altos, CA, called girlsPARC, A Girls Science Plus Arithmetic Club. In this program, female engineers and scientists worked with over 100 2nd to 6th graders on lessons featuring DNA extraction and electrical circuit design as an early introduction to systems.
BCI Elementary School Partnership
For many of us, elementary school science was a forgettable experience. Dry textbooks and staid examples did nothing to incite our natural curiosity. Here at UC San Diego, we want to change that. We take brilliant graduate students, professors and all the resources that a world-class research institute offers, and put them in front of an elementary-school audience who can truly appreciate it. Our message is simple: the world is a wondrous place, and worth learning about! We invite you to look at the incredible things our students and teachers have done together, and we hope you’ll lend us a hand in making better futures for our kids.
For more information, please visit our website at http://biocircuits.ucsd.edu/outreach/
Partnership with the Fleet Science Center
The SDCSB has had had great success organizing nighttime science socials in conjunction with the Fleet Center. In the innovative quarterly event “Two Scientists Walk into a Bar,” about 50 scientists from throughout San Diego disperse to about 25 local bars to advertise science and answer questions from patrons for two hours. This event reaches a wide audience typically without a background in science. Typically about 10% of the participating scientists are affiliated with the SDCSB.
The Fleet Center also organizes a monthly event called “Suds and Science,” in which scientists discuss an interesting aspect of their work with the the general public in a neighborhood bar. The evening begins with a brief, informative presentation leading then to an extended discussion between the scientist and the audience. With assistance and coordination from the SDCSB, Mr. Curt Becker, a founder and executive at Applied Biosystems, presented a talk entitled “Genetic Engineering—Can It Be the Solution to the World’s Problems?” on September 14, 2014.
The Fleet Center’s “Science on the Rocks” series opens the Science Center one evening a month to create a club-like atmosphere for adults (21+), allowing them to enjoy an evening out while experiencing various scientific activities centered on a particular theme. The SDCSB will host one “Science on the Rocks” per year on the theme of systems biology.
Members of the SDCSB also enrich the Fleet Center’s “Senior Monday Seminar Series.” In these monthly events, researchers give a scientific talk geared to the lay audience followed by a relevant IMAX movie. On August 4, 2014, Dr. Pinter-Wollman presented a talk entitled “Human-Elephant Conflict in Africa: Is Translocation a Solution?”. The SDCSB plans on recruiting additional SDCSB faculty, post-docs and students to participate in this program.
Building from these efforts, we are also partnering with the Fleet Center to enrich their successful Saturday Science Club for Girls with genetics and quantitative biology skills. This club allows girls from 5th to 8th grade to interact with hands-on activities and meet with local scientists. On March 14, 2015, Dr. Pinter-Wollman presented a lesson entitled “Exploring Entomology” where she discussed complex behavior of ants and the importance of pheromones. Throughout the year, girls explore many fields including biology, chemistry, engineering, and physics.