GCAT Workshop 2010: Topic Idea Presentations and Closing Remarks
On the final day of the 2010 workshop all groups gathered to present and observe one another’s project topic ideas. Presentations discussed a variety of things including how teachers plan to engage undergrads in synthetic biology research, how the faculty will collaborate their disciplines to fit a single lesson plan and ideas for specific project topics.
Groups enjoyed sharing what they had learned and finding out what others had gained from the experience.
“My partner and I came to this workshop to learn to merge our research interests and to gain the fundamental principles of synthetic biology. I feel like we’ve done that and am excited to use what we’ve learned and apply it to multiple subjects in multiple classrooms so our students can work together” said Dr. Jodi Schwarz, who attended the event with her colleague Dr. Teresa Garrett. Dr. Schwarz teaches genomics and Dr. Garrett teaches chemistry at Vassar.
After presentations and a brief coffee break the faculty came together one last time to make closing remarks and share an overall assessment of how they felt the workshop turned out.
The Educators agreed that the two-and-a-half day workshop provided an adequate amount of information to keep participants enthusiastic and engaged. Though some suggested that more time should be spent looking at how each of the disciplines (biology, chemistry, computer science and mathematics) can contribute to synthetic biology research, it was decided that more time on this topic might overwhelm participants as they are just starting out. However, learning more about what each specialty has to offer is insightful and participants are encouraged to use tools from GCAT, such as websites and wiki pages, to obtain this information.
In his closing remarks, workshop leader Dr. Malcolm Campbell, expressed his delight in how the event turned out. “The teams here brainstormed with ideas in synthetic biology that were productive and creative. There are a lot of ideas that I think could be exciting undergraduate research projects.”
At the end of the day special thanks go out to Dr.s Malcolm Campbell, Todd Eckdahl, Laurie Heyer and Jeff Poet for organizing the 2010 GCAT synthetic biology faculty workshop, to Davidson College for its facilities and most importantly to the participants for their enthusiasm and great teamwork that made GCAT such a success!