Team:Lethbridge Canada/surveys


As part of our Human Practices and Outreach component, we looked to the people closest to us for input about the program. Parental surveys were handed out and completed in order to demonstrate the impact that iGEM is having on memebers of our team through the eyes of our parents. In doing so, we have also included them in our project, and have been educating them at home about our project, and about synthetic biology in general.

Do you feel that the iGEM program has been a valuable component in enhancing your son/daughters high school year(s)?

How likely would you be to recommend the iGEM program to your family and/or friends’ children?

Do you feel the iGEM program is valuable in facilitating the transition from high school to university?

How beneficial do you feel that iGEM has been in preparing your son/daughter with university lab skills and habits?

On a scale of 1-5 (1-very little, 5-very much) how much has your son/daughter talked about or engaged with you regarding their experience in iGEM and this year’s project?

How well do you feel you understand this year’s project on a scale of 1-5? (1-not well, 5-very well)

Do you know what Oxytocin is?

If so, do you see value in creating a synthetic form of Oxytocin for future benefit?

How well do you feel you understand what synthetic biology is?

Would you be supportive of your son/daughter continuing with iGEM in the coming years either in the high school division or at the collegiate level?

How safe do you feel your son/daughter is working in a biochemistry laboratory on a scale of 1-5? (1-not safe, 5-very safe)

Parent Survey Comments:

Are there any improvements you see that could be added to enhance the iGEM program for the future? (Regarding adviser guidance, time commitment, skills, training, level of school/parental involvement etc.)

I feel that the program overall is very well run and administered. It is not overly focused on just results, it seems to teach and foster the scientific process, leading to a results orientated individual.

I do feel that the scholarships that are/were offered for the students dedicating their time and effort while very involved in maintaining their respective high school grades is a very good incentive and reward for effort given. As the program benefits the student, and clearly the University as a whole, it is wise to reward the student for effort with the ability to transition to the post-secondary level.

I do feel however that the awarding of the scholarships should be to those students that actively contribute and participate… not just those that show for the picture and scholarship awards, cheapens that accomplishments of those that have truly worked hard to better the program and the University as a whole.

I feel for students at the high school level who are part of iGEM that it is crucial that not only the parents be involved and supportive of the student’s participation but also that the school needs to be involved and supportive! To this end, I would suggest in the future:

  1. That both parents and school need to have an orientation to the project itself, see what the student’s participation looks like and what the student’s time commitment will be. This could be a presentation either at the school or at the University. Do the schools even understand the experience that these students will gain, not only the lab experience but learning to work with a team and the scientific knowledge? Parents and school staff could then meet the advisors and be able to ask questions which would alleviate any misunderstandings about the nature of iGEM.
  2. That students continue to present the iGEM concept to their respective School Boards which would further the understanding of what iGEM is all about.
  3. That it could be feasible that students who participate seriously in iGEM might be eligible for some type of high school credit or credit in their first year of university, especially those who will go to Jamboree and represent their schools and the University of Lethbridge. These students are putting in enormous amounts of time and I feel that this should be recognized.

I feel that the program has the qualities it needs to be a wonderful introduction to “real science”. I worked in a lab myself for several years, and the techniques that are learned in iGem are valuable and applicable for lab workers. As well, the students get a chance to actually see the concepts they have heard about, such as GMO, bioassays, and minipreps. The program seems like it meets my daughter’s needs in its present form, so I have no suggestions for changes or improvements.

Preparing a pamphlet (even PDF ones) to the parents briefly introducing the outline and basic concepts the students are doing, will help parents and public both understanding and spread the ideas.

I think the only suggestion I would make is to give the students a little exposure to the lab head. I think the fact that the students are lead by students who are one or two stages ahead of them (e.g. Undergraduate and Graduate students) is extremely good, since it allows them to see models that are close to them in experience. But I thought it would be also good to see working scientists at a higher level as well: post-doc and faculty. This needn't be very time consuming. But an introduction and maybe overview of the work of a working scientist would be an additional benefit.

Additional Comments:

I love that “smart is cool”, because that is often not the case in high school.

My son is very enthusiastic of attending the iGEM group meetings and lab sections. I think through these time he obtained valuable information and skills. I feel this program really helped his transition from high school to university level study. We appreciate that there is such a program exists.