Breakthrough Junior Challenge for Students
In 2015, we teamed with the Breakthrough Junior Science Challenge, in which precollege students produce short videos that expalin an important and challenging concept or theory in science. Funded by Mark Zuckerberg, Priscilla Chan, and Yuri and Julia Milner, the Junior Challenge is a complement to the prestigious Breakthrough Prize, designed to inspire creative thinking about fundamental concepts in the life sciences, physics, or mathematics. The winner receives a $250,000 scholarship and the inspiring science teacher receives $50,000. Our task: to administer $100,000 to design and equip a Breakthrough Science Lab for the winning school. The DNALC works with the school principal and science faculty to design the lab and acts as purchasing agent to procure quality equipment and supplies at CSHL’s negotiated rates. DNALC staff members then provide on-site training for school faculty to implement labs from its DNA Science, Genome Science, and DNA Barcoding 101 curricula.
The Breakthrough Science Lab follows the blueprint for teaching labs developed at the DNALC. This proven design has been adopted by partner institutions worldwide. To encourage student engagement and collaboration, the lab features flexible workplaces with minimal clutter. Each laboratory includes a complete set of equipment needed to implement the DNALC’s cutting-edge molecular biology curricula, highlighted in the popular textbooks DNA Science and Genome Science.
In the first year of the Challenge, Ryan Chester from North Royalton High School won a Breakthrough Science Lab for his school. There were three 2016 winners from around the world: Deanna See, Raffles Girls School, Singapore; Antonella Masini, Cambridge College, Lima, Peru; and popular vote winner Hillary Diane Andales, Philippine Science High School, Eastern Visayas, Philippines, who went on to win the 2017 challenge. The winner of the 2018 Breakthrough Junior Challenge was Samay Godika of India.
Go to Breakthrough Junior Challenge
Barcoding Biodiversity in the Philippines
As part of the 2016 Breakthrough Junior Challenge, Hillary Diane Andales was the Popular Vote winner and her high school was awarded a new science lab for the Eastern Vismayas Campus of the Philippine Science High School System (PSHS). DNALC-style desks were installed and a full set of equipment arrived just in time for Executive Director Dave Micklos to hold a workshop to introduce PSHS teachers to methods for lab instruction in molecular genetics and genomics.
As part of the workshop, Dave took the educators on a field trip to conduct a mini ecological study using DNA barcoding to identify plants, animals, and fungi from the local habitat.