My name is Rebecca, I am a 7th grader attending Sierra Expeditionary Learning School. My class has been studying cells, genetics, and body systems and wanted to learn about how genetics applies to the real world. We planned a trip to the Bay Area, where we visited places such as Counsyl, Stanford, 23andMe, and the San Jose Tech Museum.

Kyle Lapham giving a tour of our lab automation

Visiting Counsyl was a great experience for all of us. One of the most interesting parts of our visit to Counsyl was the Q & A time. We had a chance to hear from a robot programmer, a genetic counselor, and a laboratory scientist, and then we were able to ask any questions about working in the field of genetics.  My classmate Taylor said something that really hit the nail on the head: “I changed my motives for becoming successful. Now I just focus on my passion because I learned that your passion will lead you to success.”

For a lot of people in my class, the trip to Counsyl really changed their opinion on genetics. Thirteen of twenty-one students in my class now think of genetics as a potential career option in the future, as opposed to a score that would have been much lower had we not come to Counsyl. I asked a few of my classmates what was the most surprising thing about Counsyl and what changed for them after coming to Counsyl, these were a few of their answers:

“The three things I’ll remember most is the robotics, how everyone seemed to be smiling, and that it looked like everyone enjoyed their jobs.” – Gary
“What was most surprising was that I didn’t think that what they were doing was super important or cool but when I came there it turned out that everything was important and cool.” – Sophia
“What was most surprising for me was how many people they help through genetics.” – Cooper

Eric Evans, CSO, speaks about founding CounsylOverall I think coming to Counsyl was a great educational experience for my class. It was very inspirational to learn about what it was like to have a career in genetics.  I thought it was great that Counsyl is empowering people by giving them knowledge about the different risks for genetic diseases. Nowadays genetics has become more and more accessible and affordable which is why I think people should take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about their own genome.
The author, Rebecca, is 12-years-old and finishing up her 7th grade year at Sierra Expeditionary Learning School in Truckee, CA. She wants to become either a scientist, an actress, or an author. Her current interests are acting, writing, singing, dancing, soccer, tennis, and reading. Our advice for Rebecca: follow your heart!

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