After iGEM Committees: Reflections From The Giant Jamboree And The Way Forward

Jan 25, 2020

The 2019 Giant Jamboree is over. 353 teams from over 42 different countries participated in the competition and presented their vision for the future of Synthetic Biology. 2020 has started and we're already seeing teams getting all prepped up for the competition. 

Back here at After iGEM our Committees are also working towards making the best out of the year 2020. During the 2019 Giant Jamboree, they hosted a set of workshops and meetups to interact with the community and develop their agenda.

 

Education Committee

The main goal of the Education Committee is to run, develop and grow the Mentorship Program that aims at helping participants to reach the maximum potential during the competition guided by experienced Mentors.

Robert Ramirez, Patrick Diep and Yoshi
from the Education Committee
Robert Ramirez (Mentor & Education Committee
Chair)with Bioriidl Somaiya (First year of
participation)

The Mentorship Program is a platform created to connect experienced iGEMers with incoming iGEM teams that either are first time participants or want to improve their results respective to former editions of the competition and a space to create content that will guide Teams & Mentors through the requirements and criterion that makes the iGEM competition a successful adventure.

A key aspect of the Mentorship Program is that it is continuously evolving and that every year's experience is reused by the committee to learn upon which conditions teams succeed and which elements of the mentorship can be modified according to this understanding. In this light, the Mentorship Program spends a significant amount of time in developing metrics for analysis of the current situation of teams at particular checkpoint throughout the competition in the form of Feedback Reports that are specifically designed to produce data that can be quantified and processed to obtain a valuable information that helps Teams & Mentor individually and helps the Mentorship Program. 

In order to improve the iGEM experience of the participating Teams the Education Committee has conceived the Education Hub, that aims to provide a platform for Mentors to access appropriate resources that are useful to lead the team to success. In the coming future, we have a vision of making the Education Hub an essential tool for iGEM, where all members will be able to access a database of categorised material that ranges from laboratory protocols to project management and team leadership advice.

In the committee we are very excited for the new things that are coming as.much as we are in keeping alive what we have got so far until now and make it grow.

 

Academia Committee

The After iGEM Committee is working towards understanding the impact of iGEM Competition on Academia by quantifying the research output. During the Giant Jamboree 2019, the After iGEM Academia Committee hosted a workshop that explored the nuances of pitching yourself in academia and industry. The chair, Roger Rubio, aided by Britt Linkous from Merrick, presented the attendees with notions, suggestions, and examples that should be considered when applying for positions in the academic and industrial landscape. 

Roger Rubio (Committee Chair) during a career workshop at the Giant Jamboree

 

Some tips on how to apply to positions in academia & industry

The 2019 Giant Jamboree was an incredible event that brought together students, academics, and industry stakeholders to push forward the synthetic biology agenda. This platform also served as venue for the first After iGEM Academia & Research Committee workshop How to successfully pitch yourself in academia & industry , fronted by Roger Rubio Sanchez. Him, and Britt Linkous from Merrick & Company, explained a number of notions that should be contemplated whenever you are applying for a position in the academic and industrial environments. These dwelled not only on meeting given academic qualifications and skills, but also encompassed considerations that range from the compatibility of values, working cultures, interests, and even the significance of wording, phrasing, and deadline compliance. Our suggestions mainly highlighted the importance of due diligence to ensure that informed decisions are made. In particular, the overarching recommendation was to never accept a position just because it is the only offer you have gotten. Always stay true to your interests and ambitions, and remember that compromise should be bilateral

 

 

High School Committee

The iGEM High School Division provides an exciting opportunity for high school students and instructors to learn about and engage in synthetic biology. In 2018 1000 high school students from 12 countries participated in the iGEM Competition and joined their collegiate level colleagues in celebrating their achievements at the iGEM Giant Jamboree held in October at the Hynes Convention Center.

The After iGEM high school committee consists of passionate individuals who work together to increase the visibility of these initiatives below: 

Facilitate collaboration among iGEM high schoolers 

The Committee has helped to host meetups in different regions. Last season, committee members went to more than six meetups.

Collect feedback on the  iGEM Competition

They also reached out to past high school iGEMers to receive their feedback about the competition and organized interviews with them. We subsequently share these interviews on multiple platforms to generate more awareness about iGEM.  

Build a high school alumni network for iGEMers.

The After iGEM HighSchool committee is convinced that people are our most valuable asset, and we hope to create an alumni network comprised of past high schoolers.

During the Giant Jamboree the Committee hosted the high school meet & greet to offer high school students a chance to talk with other high school iGEMers around the world and share their stories with us. We also organized an instructor’s session to hear opinions from a different view. 

High School iGEMers at the High School Meetup during the Giant Jamboree

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