Boys and Girls Club teens explore biotech

Twenty teens from the Boys and Girls Clubs of North Alabama had a DNA extraction with BGC change of heart about life sciences after a field trip to HudsonAlpha on Wednesday, July 3. The group of students, ages 13-17, came mostly from the organization's Sparkman and Seminole centers.

Brian Pollock, CEO of resident associate company Kailos Genetics, coordinated the event with the shared goal of inspiring these students. 

"These kids need to see what is out there," said Pollock. "They need to see there is a place for them in biotech and all they need is the desire and the willingness to work for it."

Adam Hott, Ed.D., educational outreach coordinator, shared HudsonAlpha's history and explained its mission of research, educational outreach and economic development in a way that made these efforts relavant to them.

"I've always liked science," said Shentory Wilson, 17. "But this is so cool. This was a real eye-opening day. It would be cool to be a part of science."

Hott also led a strawberry DNA activity with the group, allowing them to see DNA firsthand. Prior to the presentation, only one student said he had an interest in science. Following the experiment and a tour of the institute, every youth who participated expressed a fresh outlook on the subject.

"I always thought science was boring," said Keaira Hyter, 13. "It's more active and more fun than I thought it was. That's good because I want to be a doctor."

Kailos Genetics, in cooperation with HudsonAlpha, hopes to host another group from the Boys and Girls Clubs of North Alabama later this summer.