NHGRI launches genomic careers resource for students
Resource uses videos and interactivity to showcase sareer opportunities in genetics and genomics
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 professionalcareers understand the opportunities in the fields of genetics and genomics.
Called the GenomicCareers Resource, and located on the NHGRI Web site, the new offeringshowcases nearly 50 career opportunities through video interviews, careerprofiles, tools to rate potential career choices, and even an interactive game.
"It would have been valuable to have such easilyaccessible career advice when I was a student," notes Dr. Eric D. Green, director of NHGRI. "TheGenomic Careers Resource will get current and future students excited aboutcareers in genetics and genomics, showing them how they can contribute toimproving human health and a better understanding of our biological world."
The Genomic Careers Resource Web site, availableat www.genome.gov/GenomicCareers, is aimed primarily at high school and collegestudents, and institute staff unveiled the new resource at the annualNational Science Teachers Association meeting in Philadelphia. Science teachers were encouraged to share theresource with other educators and school guidance counselors who play criticalroles in guiding today's students toward careers.
"We designed the career resource to showcase realpeople engaged in a wide variety of activities in the fields of genetics andgenomics," says Vence Bonham, chief of NHGRI's Education and CommunityInvolvement Branch, which created the new Web site. "It is filled with toolsthat can help students narrow down the careers they want to pursue in thesegrowing fields."
The Genomic Careers Resource currently has thefollowing major components:
Welcome videos explain how to use the Web site andgive 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 Resourceinto their curriculum. The Web site also includes a share button that givesusers the ability to distribute content through social media networks.
The Career Tracker, a tool that helps users keeptrack of careers they like best, allows users to rate careers and videointerviews 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 CareerTracker to recommend which career path the user might want to consider.
This section features video interviews withprofessionals and tours of genomic facilities. All videos are closed-captionedand include transcripts. Each interview or tour peeks into the lives andworkplaces of genomics and genetics workers, from young people just startingtheir careers to nationally recognized leaders. When available, the siteprovides links to related videos. Users can explore what others in the same orsimilar fields have to say. Most interview videos also include links to relatedCareer Profiles.
The Career Profiles database contains profiles ofapproximately 50 jobs in genomics and genetics. Each profile features a job description, career outlook, and descriptionof working conditions, in addition to education requirements, average income,and other information.
A TV icon at the top of a career profile links tovideo interviews or tours associated with that career. The video helps put theprofile into a real-life context.
Once users are familiar with the resource, theycan take the Genomics Challenge. This quiz randomly selects six videosfeaturing students already pursuing careers in genomics and genetics. While the video is playing, the user mustdetermine what career the student is pursuing and select it from a list ofcareer titles. At the end, a score is given.
This section provides links to reputable learningresources, professional organizations, and science news sources; it's a greatresource for teachers, too.
"As a science educator who travels to schoolsthroughout the year, I thought it would be important to develop a resource thatwould attract a diverse audience of high school and college students to thegrowing and broadening fields of genetics and genomics," says Dr. Carla Easter,an NHGRI science education specialist who led the effort. "There are manyresources available to students who are making science career decisions, butfew that allow them to get an authentic sense of what lies before them as doesthe Genomic Careers Resource."
In addition to NHGRI researchers and staff,many participating organizations provided expertise and time to the Genomic CareersResource. To see a complete list of those organizations and individuals, visit www.genome.gov/GenomicCareers/credits.cfm.