Team:ITESM Mexico/Human Practices
The Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey campus Querétaro, is a university concerned about the society and its development.
That’s why its mission statement is “The formation of integral, ethical persons, with a humanistic vision and internationally competitive in their professional field while at the same time being committed with the economical, political, social and cultural development of their communities and the sustainable use of the natural resources".
Therefore we got committed to the task of spreading out the biotechnology and synthetic biology principles inside and outside our college community, putting special effort into the youngest members of th society, reaching students of about all age ranges, from undergrads to elementary level, with the purpose of teaching and listening to their fears and doubts. We discussed, the advantages, disadvantages, implications, objectives and reach.
To achieve this we presented four conferences, two on the August-December 2010 period and two on January-May 2011. On each period we also presented a workshop where young students could extract DNA from saliva, allowing the society to have a glimpse of what biotechnology can do.
Those conferences allowed people to have much better criteria about the genetic enhancement and synthetic biology, with a better understanding of the impact that biotechnologist such as us have in modern life.
We made two visits to a high school where we tried to get the students involved with the biology and sciences in general.
Colaborating with the local museum Centro Educativo y Cultural del Estado de Querétaro (Educative and cultural centre of the state of Querétaro) we presented the home made DNA extraction protocol. Four groups ob about 30 elementary school students attended the science deparment in the museum. Kids and parents alike participated in the simple experiment, which led us a very interesting concern in the parents: they feared that the experiment may harm the kids and themselves some way.
That kind of misunderstanding is what the layman fears about biotechnology; the lack of trusworthy information leads to the creation of myths and misconceptions that interfere with the capacity of the people to understand the true implications of reserach being done and politics involved. The kids enthusiasm was remarkable and after a few questions most of the parents enjoyed the experiment as much as the kids did.
ITESM QRO 2011 colaborated with the society and the science, transmiting knowledge to other people and spreading the iGEM challenge to other students, inviting them to participate. As an example of this a new team has ensambled already at our campus, they got really interested and by this time they are getting organized to present themselves at iGEM 2012.