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NHGRI launches genomic careers resource for students
BETHESDA, Md.— Making use of video, interactive and even gaming technology, the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) of the National Institutes of Health on March 18 launched a resource to help help students planning their professional careers understand the opportunities in the fields of genetics and genomics.
Called the Genomic Careers Resource, and located on the NHGRI Web site, the new offering showcases nearly 50 career opportunities through video interviews, career profiles, tools to rate potential career choices, and even an interactive game.
"It would have been valuable to have such easily accessible career advice when I was a student," notes Dr. Eric D. Green, director of NHGRI. "The Genomic Careers Resource will get current and future students excited about careers in genetics and genomics, showing them how they can contribute to improving human health and a better understanding of our biological world."
The Genomic Careers Resource Web site, available at www.genome.gov/GenomicCareers, is aimed primarily at high school and college students, and institute staff unveiled the new resource at the annual National Science Teachers Association meeting in Philadelphia. Science teachers were encouraged to share the resource with other educators and school guidance counselors who play critical roles in guiding today's students toward careers.
"We designed the career resource to showcase real people engaged in a wide variety of activities in the fields of genetics and genomics," says Vence Bonham, chief of NHGRI's Education and Community Involvement Branch, which created the new Web site. "It is filled with tools that can help students narrow down the careers they want to pursue in these growing fields."
The Genomic Careers Resource currently has the following major components:
Welcome videos explain how to use the Web site and give an introduction to genomics. There is also a link to an educator page, where teachers can view a lesson plan to integrate the Genomic Careers Resource into their curriculum. The Web site also includes a share button that gives users the ability to distribute content through social media networks.
The Career Tracker, a tool that helps users keep track of careers they like best, allows users to rate careers and video interviews on a scale from one to five stars. The more stars a user assigns, the more the user's interest in that career and the easier it is for Career Tracker to recommend which career path the user might want to consider.
This section features video interviews with professionals and tours of genomic facilities. All videos are closed-captioned and include transcripts. Each interview or tour peeks into the lives and workplaces of genomics and genetics workers, from young people just starting their careers to nationally recognized leaders. When available, the site provides links to related videos. Users can explore what others in the same or similar fields have to say. Most interview videos also include links to related Career Profiles.
The Career Profiles database contains profiles of approximately 50 jobs in genomics and genetics. Each profile features a job description, career outlook, and description of working conditions, in addition to education requirements, average income, and other information.
A TV icon at the top of a career profile links to video interviews or tours associated with that career. The video helps put the profile into a real-life context.
Once users are familiar with the resource, they can take the Genomics Challenge. This quiz randomly selects six videos featuring students already pursuing careers in genomics and genetics. While the video is playing, the user must determine what career the student is pursuing and select it from a list of career titles. At the end, a score is given.
This section provides links to reputable learning resources, professional organizations, and science news sources; it's a great resource for teachers, too.
"As a science educator who travels to schools throughout the year, I thought it would be important to develop a resource that would attract a diverse audience of high school and college students to the growing and broadening fields of genetics and genomics," says Dr. Carla Easter, an NHGRI science education specialist who led the effort. "There are many resources available to students who are making science career decisions, but few that allow them to get an authentic sense of what lies before them as does the Genomic Careers Resource."
In addition to NHGRI researchers and staff, many participating organizations provided expertise and time to the Genomic Careers Resource. To see a complete list of those organizations and individuals, visit www.genome.gov/GenomicCareers/credits.cfm.