Area High School Students Explore Biology at Illinois Tech During Second Annual Summer Camp

From analyzing the microbiology of human normal flora to dissecting cow eyeballs, 20 high school students explored aspects of living organisms during the 2017 Biology Summer Camp, held July 10-20 in the Robert A. Pritzker Science Center.

Sponsored by the Department of Biology, the all-day camp was led by Kathryn Spink, senior lecturer of biology and director of the pre-health professions programs. Other participants from the department included Nick Menhart, associate professor of biology; Jean-Francois Pombert, assistant professor of biology; John Zhou, physiology instructor; and graduate student Krystal Manyuan Ma.

Students gained hands-on experience in the laboratory using recombinant DNA technology techniques and bioinformatics, analyzing microorganisms found in the environment and on their own bodies, visualizing fluorescence in cell culture, and exploring  aspects of anatomy and physiology. They also learned about different biology career paths through interaction with alumni, faculty, and other professionals in research, industry, education, and the health professions. At the end of the camp, they toured nearby Illinois College of Optometry.

“The purpose of the summer program is to expose students to basic techniques in different areas of biology as well as different career paths,” said Spink. “This is the second year the biology department has offered this experience, and participation has nearly doubled from the previous year. The students enjoyed the laboratory experience and learning about career paths they may not have been exposed to before.”