The following blog is part of a series written by the students and staff of the Youth Engagement through Science-Genome program (YES!G). sponsored by the Global Genome Initiative. The high school internship program offers teens hands-on experience in genomics research.
I am Asia Hill and I am a junior in high school.
This is my second year in the YES! program and this year I got the chance to be a part of YES! Genome.
The part of the program that made the biggest impression on me was receiving the results of the Marsh Elder project. Although we couldn’t physically see the DNA sequences, we got a chance to "read" the DNA. Just knowing that I was among the first group of people to see the entirety of this plant’s genome is stunning.
Part of our program included an intensive "boot camp" in the Smithsonian’s Laboratories of Analytical Biology (LAB) where we learned tons about DNA sequencing and genomics. I loved learning about bioinformatics, it was something that I knew absolutely nothing about. I previously thought that all the computers needed were a few commands and a little time to sequence DNA, but now I see that someone is actually inputting the data we get back from DNA, it is extraordinary.
With the help of my mentor and the YES!G lab technician, I worked on 93 different families of plants. We tested their relationships to one another as well as different methods of storing the specimens. The goal of my project was to make a family tree from the data that I collected.
Ultimately, it was just fun working on my project, and it was exciting to see what the other YES! students did.
If I had to tell next year’s students one thing I would tell them to be ready for an educational, fun, and interesting summer.
-Written by Asia Hill