CIRM stem cell research interns: the high school musical

As summer winds down and school starts back up, some of the students are returning with high-tech stories about what they did this summer. Nine institutions in California hosted high school students to carry out stem cell research for the summer. (We blogged recently about an end-of-program meeting for those students.)

We’re really excited about the program because it teaches young people how fun it can be to work in the lab and encourages students to pursue stem cell research careers. The program also has a focus on students from diverse backgrounds, which is a nice way of making sure that we are reaching out to people of all backgrounds in the state. After all, the best minds are not confined to a few zip codes.

I recently learned of two very different videos about the program. One, from UC Davis, quotes Sheldon High School senior Laura Kay:

By giving students the ability to come and intern, that opens their eyes and expands their knowledge on the different careers that this world has to offer, which is brilliant.

Meanwhile in southern California, the students of the City of Hope Creativity program got creative and musical with their video. Here I reveal my lack of hipness when I admit that I don’t know any of the songs, but the students lip-synching while at a microscope certainly look like they’d spent time learning to use the gear.

Despite the hours of fun they must have had making the video, the City of Hope interns clearly got a realistic experience of lab work. Their lyrics included many references to being busy, being in the lab long hours and waiting many days for results. In a nutshell, that’s how new discoveries come about.

I was rather fond of the closing, where all the students leapt from a scenic fountain yelling “Go CIRM!”.

To which we say, Go students! As Gerhard Bauer, a stem cell scientist at UC Davis, says at the end of their video, these students are the ones who will be developing the next generation of stem cell therapies. We’re glad they worked hard, got a great experience and if the City of Hope video is representative, also had fun.

A.A.

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