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Aspiring Scientists Map Careers at UB Workshop

By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – Eleven area teens are putting the beach and summer fun on hold for a couple weeks. The high school students from six public and private schools first will spend some time mapping DNA.

For most kids summer vacation has finally arrived. Long lazy days soaking up the sun. But not for the teens who signed up for UB's Summer Workshop at the Center for Bioinformatics.

They're in a stark room downtown, soaking up every word Science and Technology Director Norma Nowak has to say on genomics.

Yes, cloning vectors. DNA mutations. And other light summer fun.

Well, it is for the students who were selected to participate in the rigorous two week workshop on computational science.

15 year-old Amani Johnson from East High School said exploring her life career options is definitely worth postponing summer vacation.

Students do hands-on research to help put it into context. UB Associate Dean for Research Bruce Pitman runs the workshop. He explains the very real world science students will be doing.

Nowak renamed the annual workshop for Pitman's son Eric. The high school freshman died suddenly in February from Meningitis. Nowak said Eric understood the important links of the program.

She told the students about how the human genome project got started right here in Buffalo. And she encouraged them to make their own contributions.

The workshop is just one of UB's initiatives to bring bioinformatics and computational science to area high schools.

Click the "listen" icon above to hear Joyce Kryszak's story now or use your podcasting software to download it to your computer or iPod.