LTU’s STEM outreach program gives high school students hands-on experience with DNA analysis

SOUTHFIELD—Fifteen high school students from school districts across Southeast Michigan, including Southfield Public Schools and Farmington Public Schools, attended Lawrence Technological University’s Extreme Science Saturday, hosted by LTU’s Marburger STEM Center, on Saturday, Sept. 21.

Fauzia Siddiq, senior lecturer in the Department of Natural Sciences at Lawrence Tech, was the center of attention, focusing on the engaging topic “True Blood: Analysis and DNA Isolation.” Jaclyn Smith, newly hired STEM outreach coordinator for LTU’s Marburger STEM Center, and Devonte Myles, a senior English major, Marburger STEM Center intern, and former LTU basketball player, provided assistance in the laboratory during the workshop. The high school students received both a satisfying experience and an opportunity to work in a collegiate laboratory.

Myles said he was thrilled with his first experience working with the students and LTU’s Marburger STEM Center. During his conversations with the students, Myles recognized that many of the students were very curious about the academic aspect of college as well as campus life, which is important for recruiting and retention. “It was good to be able to lend a helping hand to students and be able to brag about our school,” Myles said. “So when you tell them professors are amazing and have just as much of a passion for science as they do, they like the idea of it.”

Jade Rollins, a sophomore track athlete at North Farmington High School, had many questions about the faculty and LTU. Rollins is a student with a love for science, who hopes to attend Lawrence Tech someday.  “It’s nice to see that a student has so many questions and would consider going to my school,” Myles said. “Also, being able to connect with them as a student-athlete was a bonus because I was able to tell them about positive experiences that come with being a student-athlete.”

The high school students were able to gain hands-on experience extracting DNA from fruit and analyzing chicken and sheep blood using staining methods and microscopic techniques. “This is the first time I’ve ever played with sheep or chicken blood,” said Victoria Barrett, a junior at Southfield A&T High School. These future scientists were amazed with the outcome of their experiments. Many students were highly satisfied and would recommend attending Lawrence Tech to earn a college degree.

Myles enjoyed his engagement with the students. “It was definitely an experience I would want to do again in the future as an intern. These kids are so gifted and I could learn from them, so that’s exciting,” Myles said.

Lawrence Technological University,, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers more than 100 programs through the doctoral level in its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Business and Information Technology, and Engineering. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 15 percent of universities for the salaries of its graduates, and U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best Midwestern universities. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.

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