Genome Sciences Education Outreach (GSEO)

Genome Sciences Education Outreach at the University of Washington in Seattle develops innovative programs that bring leading-edge science to teachers and students in K-12 schools. These programs provide interdisciplinary, hands-on science curricula, teacher training, equipment, and support to promote systemic change in schools.

In April 2011, we received a five year Science Education Partnership Award grant from the National Institutes of Health for the project, Genes, the Environment, and Me (GEM). This project addresses the pressing need for deeper understanding of biomedical research and increased representation of underrepresented minorities in biomedical fields through a school and community-focused science program.

GEM strives to involve community members—teachers, parents, and community leaders—as partners in planning, developing, and implementing project activities. Through these partnerships, we are developing the following project components:

  • Curriculum: We are creating lessons focused on a fundamental concept of biology: the interaction of genes and the environment in the determination of traits in all living organisms. There are currently two units under development, one using the model organism C. elegans (a small soil roundworm), and the other focused on type 2 diabetes. These units were piloted in Spring 2013.
  • Teacher professional development: Each summer we host the weeklong GEM workshop for high school science teachers. In 2012, the workshop was held at Heritage University.
  • Science festivals: In March 2013, we co-hosted the second Yakima Valley Science and Engineering Festival, together with UW GEAR UP and other partners. This two day festival featured a robotics competition, hands-on presentations from more than 25 biomedical, science, engineering, and computer groups, workshops, bilingual seminars, a showcase of student STEM projects, and much more.

For more information about this and other projects supported by GSEO, please contact Maureen Munn at mmunn@uw.edu or check our website at https://gsoutreach.gs.washington.edu/.