The McDonnell Genome Institute(MGI) recognizes the significance of scientific education in our community.
The Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) program, run through The McDonnell Genome Institute, has organized multiple events over this last quarter to support educational outreach to dozens of high school students in St. Louis.
Every week, the program hosts four different tutoring sessions to help high school students succeed in their classes, prepare for the ACT test, and write successful college application essays. In total, these tutoring sessions reach over 40 students from many high schools and other groups in the St. Louis area, including Jennings High School, Riverview Gardens High School, Metro High School, and The Sophia Project. Ensuring the success of these tutoring sessions are an outstanding and talented group of dedicated tutors – WashU Ph.D., MD/Ph.D., MD, and undergraduate students – who ensure the high school students receive expert training in whatever field or topic desired.
In addition, to these tutoring sessions, the SEPA program organized a three-week teaching module on genetics and genomics for a biology class at Jennings High this fall, which was run by a quintet of Ph.D. Students.
Finally, Dr. Kristine Wylie and several WashU graduate and undergraduate students host a weekly class for another biology class at Jennings High School in which students actively evaluate and interpret large genomic data sets relevant to racial and socioeconomic disparities in women’s health. Through these efforts, the SEPA Program and MGI seek to minimize the negative impact the COVID pandemic exerts on secondary education in our region and especially our city.
As part of an ongoing program, MGI made a pivotal switch to provide support during the pandemic of COVID-19.
In collaboration with the St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church, (http://www.stjamesstl.org/) located in The Ville area of St. Louis, our initial summer program changed to a different type of assistance. We worked with The Vile Community Development Foundation to support a new food bank run out of St. James Church. with six food shipments from April to July.
To continue our education program, MGI ran a virtual summer program for seven high school students from Jennings Senior High School (http://jenningssrhigh.mo.jsh.schoolinsites.com/) and Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School (MICDS https://www.micds.org/). They participated in a literature-based review on viruses, how viruses infect humans, viral evolution, and vaccine development. A regular discussion between teachers and students occurred over 6 weeks starting early July and ending the middle of August. The students were taught by Ph.D., MD-PhD, and MD students providing a great perspective as a student themselves.