Students teach students about DNA

(Source: KAIT-TV)
(Source: KAIT-TV)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The Arkansas Biosciences Institute at Arkansas State University hosted a DNA Day.

Faculty and students invited students from schools all over the area to come and experience the wondrous world of DNA.

Shea Harris, the institute's outreach coordinator, said they had a little bit of everything.

"We're showcasing how DNA can impact the lives of humans," Harris said. "And we're showing a little bit of the DNA research that is going on at Arkansas State. Our overall theme is Red Wolf Conservation. So, everything here has a red wolf tie in."

Seventh and eighth-grade students from schools all over Northeast Arkansas got to participate in over 17 booths designed to ignite their curiosity.

"I hope these students, walk away today knowing DNA is important. That it's the blueprint for all living things that holds that information, and that the red wolves need our help. It's an endangered species. It needs everything as far as conservation efforts," Harris said.

Harris said not only were these young minds being challenged, but A-State students were the ones doing the teaching.

"One of the nice things about our event," Harris said. "It gives the opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to talk science to a general audience. To these young students. They get to work on their language, their presentation. Taking their science and talking to the general public."

Lucia Acosta of Costa Rica is working on her Ph.D in molecular biology.

She was one of the booth creators who spoke to students.

"I was very excited," Acosta said. "It's a really nice experience because while I am from another country being able to teach people from here about DNA is very exciting."

Seventh-grade student Dixson Carroll from East Poinsett County said he loved the event.

"It's really educational," Carroll said. "Kids should know where they get their traits from. How they can taste things other kids can't? How do they look like that? How do they have this eye color? How do they have this hair color? But it's really educational."

Candon Argo, also from East Poinsett County, said it made him look at DNA in a different way.

"I think it's real fascinating," Argo said. "It puts a new perspective on it for me cause at school I didn't really find it that interesting. But seeing it all worked out and stuff, it just gives me like a new view on it.

"We hope to inspire a lot of these students," Harris said. "To take a career in the stem field. Or science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. For instance, if they take some of this DNA knowledge and go on to college and decide they like genetics they could become a geneticist."

Around 120 students participated in DNA Day.

Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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