Eastside Stem Club examines DNA with Notre Dame experts

NILES — As part of the Eastside Connections STEM Club, 60 middle school students in sixth, seventh and eighth grades completed a study of their own ancestry DNA through a STEM program Wednesday.

STEM stands for the integrated study of science, technology, engineering and math. The ECS students participated in a two-part hands-on lab designed to teach them more about human DNA. The lessons were taught by scientists from the DNA Learning Center at the University of Notre Dame.

On March 23, Eastside STEM Club students participated in the first lab on the campus of Notre Dame where students extracted their own DNA, which was then sent off to a national lab for testing.

On Wednesday, Amy Stark, the director of the DNA learning center at Notre Dame, traveled to Niles to walk each ECS STEM Club student through their own personal maternal ancestry results. The results varied in locations from all over the world.

ECS students also participated in a discussion of potential college majors and careers in various STEM fields. Micha Kilburn with the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics at Notre Dame introduced students to a wide range of potential careers in STEM and discussed how studying math and science can open doors to high paying STEM related jobs.

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