Augusta Free Press

25th annual Biotechnology Symposium will feature Dr. Francis S. Collins

Eastern Mennonite University will host the 25th annual Shenandoah Valley Biotechnology Symposium on Friday, March 9.

Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), former leader of the international Human Genome Project, and Virginia native (Staunton/Robert E Lee High School), is the keynote speaker.

The Shenandoah Valley Biotechnology Symposium attracts 350-425 students and teachers from area high schools for a one-day symposium and is organized by the Governor’s STEM Academy co-director from Harrisonburg High School, Myron Blosser. Now in its twenty-fifth year, the symposium provides an opportunity for area high school students to interact with and learn in laboratories from highly trained scientists. Past keynote speakers include scientists from the Smithsonian Institution, Monsanto Company, the National Institutes of Health, and the Center for Global Food Issues. In addition to hearing experts talk about their work in the field, students will engage in lab exercises with PhD-trained scientists. EMU faculty will be running the laboratory portion of the day.

The program starts at 9 a.m. with Dr. Collins’ address and Q&A from the audience (10:15-10:45).  At 11 a.m. the students will split into three groups and rotate between lunch, labs, and other hands-on activities.

A leader among faith-based, liberal arts universities since 1917, Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) emphasizes peacebuilding, sustainability, service to others, and social justice to students of diverse religious and cultural backgrounds. On the main campus in Harrisonburg, VA; at the Lancaster, PA campus; and online, EMU educates undergraduate, graduate, professional and seminary students to serve and lead in a global context. The EMU experience challenges students to pursue their life calling through scholarly inquiry, artistic creation, guided practice, and life-changing cross-cultural encounter.