CRISPR Classroom, a new startup focused on teaching biology through CRISPR curriculum, has accepted two high school ExcitED summer interns in partnership with The Pennsylvania Society for Biomedical Research (PSBR) and William Tennet High School
Los Angeles, California - July 27, 2022 - CRISPR Classroom, a company that improves science education through interactive experiences and curricula, has announced the acceptance of two summer interns from ExcitED. Rising junior Erta Fonda and rising senior Zoe Dilts, both from William Tennent High School, received a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of CRISPR Classroom and helped contribute to the company’s growth. Throughout the six-week program, the interns learned about general entrepreneurship, customer discovery, marketing, sales, and practiced their science communication skills.
“Erta and Zoe gained a tremendous amount of experience working as interns for CRISPR classroom. In addition to the marketing and entrepreneurship skills related to their work, they gained invaluable soft skills they will be able to transfer to all of their future academic endeavors. Both Erta and Zoe reported improvements in their ability to solve problems and work with others, and also stated they felt less scared to try new things and fail. This experience will set Erta and Zoe ahead of many of their classmates and will undoubtedly give them an edge when looking at colleges and future internships.” Ignacio Jayo, Science Teacher, William Tennent High School
“I’m so proud of our students who took on an internship in a space that is hard for even the brightest adults to be successful in. These sorts of opportunities, like CRISPR Classroom, are so valuable and offer students the chance to close opportunity gaps. Borth Erta and Zoe seemed thrilled with their experience and ExcitED is looking forward to growing this partnership with CRISPR Classroom.” - Steven Beal, Science Teacher, William Tennent High School
Zoe and Erta were challenged to quickly understand CRISPR Classroom social media channels and develop content appropriate for the company’s audience. Together, the interns created over 150 Instagram posts which included finding and researching the content topic, designing the graphic, writing the post text, and scheduling the post for publishing. Two of these content pieces are shown below. Follow CRISPR Classroom’s Instagram @crisprclassroom to see even more of Zoe and Erta’s hard work.
“My favorite aspect of the start-up experience so far is the way people respond to posts, the idea of pushing things on social media in general, and gaining followers to turn them into potential clients (A.K.A the marketing funnel).” - Zoe, Senior at William Tennent High School
“I love the creativity that goes into a business. The idea of being able to create and design almost anything and allowing people to see it and interact with it sparks a lot of my interest.” - Erta, Junior at William Tennent High School
Scientists recreate a trait in flies similar to those that let monarch butterflies eat toxic milkweed with impunity. Monarch butterflies and a few other insects evolved essentially the same genetic mutations allowing them to eat toxic milkweed without getting sick. Scientists have now used CRISPR gene editing to make these same mutations in fruit flies, successfully conferring toxin resistance and potentially making predators vomit.
The world’s first attempt to use the CRISPR gene-editing tool to treat blindness is showing hints of success. Six people received an experimental gene therapy for the treatment of Leber congential amaurosis (LCA) starting in March 2020, and as of Sept 2021, two can now better sense light. This clinical trial was the first to inject CRISPR directly into the body (the eye) to edit DNA, versus modifying patient cells outside the body.
ExcitED, developed as a collaboration between the Pennsylvania Society for Biomedical Research (PSBR), William Tennent High School, and the County of Bucks Department of Workforce & Economic Development is a workforce readiness program that prepares students for life beyond secondary education by securing, promoting, and growing authentic and intellectually challenging partnerships that enhance student learning and afford opportunities for our school community to learn from and work alongside industry leaders, entrepreneurs, and academic partners. As part of the ExcitED experience, interns gain hands-on work experiences that allow students to explore entrepreneurship and STEM-related professional opportunities.
“ExcitED gives students the opportunity to work with various industry partners in our region and exposes them to authentic work. Students see how the skills they learn in school translate into various careers and they get real-world experience and mentorship from a multitude of professionals. The students get financial compensation from ExcitED upon successful completion of their internships. This summer alone, 28 students participated in seven different internship placements of varying lengths and focus, including Biotechnology, entrepreneurship and marketing.” - Ignacio Jayo
The Pennsylvania Society for Biomedical Research (PSBR) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit science education organization formed in 1990. PSBR's mission is to promote a better public understanding of the importance of biomedical research and its contributions to human and animal health, with the goal of offering any person, regardless of age, gender, or income level, the opportunity to engage in scientific exploration and career-connected learning. PSBR carries out this mission by providing in-person activities, presentations and experiences that support science and healthcare education, career awareness, and professional development opportunities. Since 2012, PSBR has impacted over 40,000 students.
"PSBR is thrilled to be part of the ExcitED collaboration and happy to be working with CRISPR Classroom to provide students with valuable and enriching opportunities focused on science communications while also providing real-world experiences." - David S. Garbe, PhD, PSBR’s Director of Outreach and Education.
Learn more about how CRISPR Classroom is closing the gap between STEM innovation and education by visiting www.crisprclassroom.org
Kristina Tatiossian, PhD
ABOUT CRISPR CLASSROOM
CRISPR Classroom is closing the gap between STEM innovation and education, helping lower the barriers that parents, students, and educators face when searching for enriching educational content. The company leverages their deep expertise in science storytelling to build learning programs for students at scale. With its foundations in educational innovation, the company's platforms integrate courses, hands-on experimental kits, and career education to advance both educator- and student-led initiatives. With its users from over 40 countries and thousands of others following their story on social media, CRISPR Classroom is at the forefront of STEM education enabling the next generation of students to think critically, solve complex problems, and address our most pressing issues with logic and creativity.