Lisa Serfling's first, second, and third honors biology classes were visited by DNA Day Ambassador Sarah Marks from Erie Lab at UNC-Chapel Hill. Marks helped the students explore Epigenetics (the master code that our cells use to decide how and when to use their 24,000 genes). Students developed an understanding of the complexity of genetic regulation and how their cells manage genetic information. They used their saliva to complete a hands-on DNA extraction to visualize DNA. They also investigated evidence that environment and lifestyle choices may effect their epigenome & lead to disease.
North Carolina DNA Day is an annual event where scientists from NC’s leading research universities and institutions visit over 100 high schools statewide to present interactive, hands-on lessons about genetics, genomics, and biotechnology, which reinforce the North Carolina Standard Course of Study. In addition, scientist ambassadors discuss their own ongoing research with students and share exciting career opportunities in science and biotechnology. NC DNA Day provides an opportunity for over 7,000 high school students to meet and interact with a young scientist, which often clarifies misconceptions of what a scientist looks like and breaks down barriers for students to follow scientific career paths.
Moreover, NC DNA Day allows early-career scientists to experience the satisfaction of sharing their passion for science with students, fostering a spirit of public engagement leading to continued participation in science outreach throughout their careers.