Team:Arizona State/Community


Community Outreach

Teaching Synthetic Biology in High Schools

The ASU iGEM team presented the “Exploring Synthetic Biology” curriculum to high school biotechnology classes. The ASU iGEM team is working with various high schools around the state of Arizona to start iGEM teams. In addition, ASU iGEM is working with Bioscience high school to develop a project idea for the 2013 high school iGEM competition. This past year, ASU helped Bioscience High School become the first high school iGEM team in Arizona and receive Honorable Mention for Best New BioBrick Part or Device.

Bioscience High School Internship Program

ASU iGEM participated in the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering (SBHSE) Summer Intern Program by hosting high school students. Both the team members and high school students worked on iGEM projects during the summer. The high school students gained a strong knowledge of molecular biology lab techniques as well as a solid understanding of the chimeric reporter systems. At the end of the summer, the students gave presentations to the SBHSE detailing their experiences with ASU iGEM.

Our Vision for the High School Division of iGEM

The high school division of iGEM has the potential to alter the current approaches to teaching science education in high school. Currently, many students are discouraged to continue in the sciences upon reaching college due to the perceived tediousness and rote memorization that has defined many high school science classes. iGEM, with its hands-on approach, could rekindle an interest and enthusiasm in the natural sciences engineering, and mathematics amongst high school students.

Currently, the high school division of iGEM is centralized to the American midwest, with sparse involvement from other regions. We aim to challenge this current predicament by introducing the emerging field of synthetic biology to high schools across the state of Arizona to spur curiosity towards the field and allow high school students to get involved in cutting-edge research opportunities.

Our vision for the future of the high school division involves a multitude of high schools across Arizona participating in the iGEM competition and spreading the competition to nearby states to transform the high school competition into one that spans the entire United States and possibly the world. A problem that many high schools run into is the fact that they cannot afford to the travel expenses necessary to send students to competition. We would like to see iGEM expand to a virtual forum in which the competition is not centered on in-person presentations. This allows for iGEM to be all inclusive thereby allowing interested high schools to be a part of the competition regardless of financial constraints.

University Outreach

Around the Campus

The ASU iGEM team publicized iGEM and synthetic biology by placing our QR code (linking back to our wiki) around the campus as well as flyers in common areas. The goal was to raise awareness and spark interest in the student body.

ASU 101

Arizona State University holds a required introductory course to introduce first-year students to the unique culture, challenges, and opportunities at the nation’s largest university. Over 9,000 freshmen take this course their first semester. By the end of the semester, all ASU freshmen will know what is expected of them as college students and how to succeed. ASU’s 2012 iGEM team came to speak in the ASU 101 classes for science majors. The team introduced the freshmen to the new field of synthetic biology. In addition, the team informed the students about the iGEM foundation, about the competition and ASU’s iGEM project this year, and how students can become involved with iGEM.

Passport to ASU

Passport to ASU was on 22 August 2012. Passport is an opportunity to reach thousands of students as part of Welcome Week activities. The iGEM team set-up a table and talked with fellow ASU students to recruit members for next year’s team, to publicize our project, and increase awareness of synthetic biology.