Students at Dayton High School are taking advantage of GEAR UP support to join a community of scientists in documenting a digital registry of California bee species using a DNA barcoding system.
For animals such as bees, a DNA barcode represents a record of the bee’s genetic fingerprint. Based on this barcode fingerprint, the bee species can be cataloged and information of the bee population’s ecological condition can be followed more efficiently than when using methods previously used.
Dayton High School students are involved in the barcoding project by using biotechnology methods to extract and purify the bee DNA, amplify a short segment of targeted DNA using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and verify the success of the work using DNA gel electrophoresis. The DNA product will be sent away for DNA sequencing, with the DNA sequence then returned to DHS for students to upload to the Barcode of Life Database (BOLD). Each of these procedures are commonly found in research and industry biotechnology labs. Through participation in the barcoding project, Dayton high school students gain valuable experience in biotechnology practices, learn complex molecular life science topics, and develop an awareness for the efforts underway to save diminishing diversity in species such as bees.
“I’m very proud of the students from Dayton High School for being able to perform such a high level, relevant application of biotechnology even though we are far removed from any biotech research lab or industry, said Doug Yenney, science teacher at Dayton High School. “I am amazed at what these students can do in the biotechnology lab”.
This is the third year of DNA barcoding for DHS and this year’s project will continue into the spring of this school year.
On February 24th, twenty Ephrata High School GEAR UP students took a day trip to tour the campus of the University of Washington. The trip started with a campus tour. The students were able to explore Red Square, the Quadrangle and the university’s iconic cherry trees, the quiet reading room in the Suzzallo Library, and Drumheller Fountain. The tour ended at the Husky Union Building, were the students were able to sample a taste of UW’s cuisine. After lunch, the group took a quick detour to the Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science and Engineering to view the world’s tallest display of LED lights. Afterwards, the group finished up the excursion with a walk through the university district to take a look at the university book store. The students played college and financial aid trivia with staff on the ride home. Accompanying the group was GEAR UP Site Manager Jeff Allsopp, EHS Counselor Rhonda Hagy, and GEAR UP Tutor Claire Hanberg.
After months of planning and tailoring an early outreach message to College Bound students, GEAR UP and WSAC were able to put together a 40 minute presentation to all 10th and 11th grade River View HS students, meeting all pledge requirements (including the 2.0 GPA) on February 17, 2016.
Mrs. Rubio and Teresa Santoy co-presented the scholarship, its history, its intention, and how to access it, to cohort students. The event was attended by 83 total students who were signed up by GEAR UP in 7th and 8th grade at Finley Middle School. The students were divided by grade level and presented scholarship information in two separate sessions.
10th grade students were invited into the River View commons during their 5th period class. 11th grade students were slated for 6th period, after completing their ASVAB test for the majority of the day, their whole day spent in the lecture hall.
Students had college bound folders containing college bound scholarship knowledge: accessing your scholarship instructions, 68 eligible institutions accepting the scholarship in Washington State, and WASFA information in both English and Spanish. Teresa went through a comprehensive power point with students fielding plenty of student driven questions at the end of each presentation. Mrs. Rubio provided anecdotal information about the scholarship based on River View alumni’s experiences at various institutions where the scholarship was awarded.
Some of the aha (or light bulb) moments for students was that they in fact can take a year off from school, or have a break in college. They do not have to go 4 consecutive years; nor do they have to start college in the fall right after graduation. Also, the fact that students planning to apply out of state would not be funded was a game changer in the eyes of some River View students.
Special thank you to WSAC, Teresa Santoy, and Sarah Garza, for all their hard work and partnership in making this event possible for River View College Bound students. On the helm of a major college fair next month, College Planning Day, this event could not have been planned at a better time, or sparked questioning and planning in students in a more cohesive way.
The GEAR UP Peer Mentoring training was an amazing experience. These two days were incredibly helpful and insightful. From the ice breakers, to the group activities, to the sessions with WSU Tri-Cities students. It all was a very informative experience. The next day I had the pleasure of meeting Latrell Armstrong who gave the attendees the Focus Training. Not only was it informative, but Mr. Armstrong gave my peers and I the knowledge and awareness of what GEAR UP is capable of doing and how we can spread the idea of education after high school. Mr. Armstrong showed us how to reach out as mentors, how to host GEAR UP events at our school, and how to develop bonds with these students who previously never thought about college.
I received a lot of insight from the college and career exploration. Discussions with WSU students and students from other high schools brought me to think about my plan for after high school and how I can help others to think about their education after high school. These discussions and activities made me improve my communication skills as well as my social skills. The Focus Training on the second day equipped me with all the necessary skills to be a mentor at my school. Team development was a huge topic at this training and this improved my teamwork skills as well as leadership skills. I was introduced to the idea of "effective communication" which really impacted the way I talk to my peers and the students who I help mentor.
The GEAR UP Peer Mentoring Training was not only fun, and insightful, but it gave me the skills to introduce my peers to GEAR UP. I love and support GEAR UP and its resources. I walked into this training as a student involved in GEAR UP, and I came out as a GEAR UP student/mentor thanks to this training.