A group of 9 high school students and two adults, Mary Lynn Collins and Catherine Pruitt from Santa Fe Teen Homeschoolers, toured the New Mexico Consortium (NMC) Biological Laboratory on Tuesday June 4, 2019. The tour was given by Cynthia Sackos, the NMC Greenhouse Manager and Biotechnologist.
The NMC Biological Laboratory and Greenhouse supports cross-disciplinary and cross-institutional initiatives in plant biology, agriculture, human health, biofuels, and biomedical technology. The students received a tour of the building which includes 12,000 square feet of working laboratory space and 4,000 square feet of greenhouse. Cynthia spoke to the students about research on how to improve algae for use in biofuels, plant experiments, and bacteriophage. She also taught the kids how centrifuges work and why we use them in the lab.
Cynthia also spoke about sustainable agriculture and how GMOs can help feed the world’s growing population. Researchers at the NMC Biolab also work to rid the world of diseases such as Dengue fever and Zika virus, which are transmitted through mosquitos. The students were excited to talk about the mosquito experiments and how the mosquitos are fed.
The students found the tour of the NMC Biolab fascinating and afterwards they gave the adults positive feedback regarding the tour. One teen commented “I didn’t know science could be so interesting.” Several others thought that watching scientists work was enlightening, and enjoyed learning about centrifuges.
Another teen commented that seeing the research taking place at the NMC was motivating and inspiring. They connected with Cynthia’s personal talking points about not knowing what she wanted to do in life and changing careers several times before finding the right one.
The two adults on the tour said that the mission of the Consortium is amazing and gives them hope for the future. Mary Lynn stated, “It’s nice to know that there are people like you and your team doing good things for humanity and the planet.”
The New Mexico Consortium takes science outreach and sharing what we do with the community very seriously. Welcoming students into a state-of-the-art facility gives them a glimpse into real world science, and hopefully this leads to positive educational impacts. The NMC loves to share with others what is going on in our facility and hopes to encourage others to become interested in science.