Spotlight on geekStarters: Sydnee Calhoun

Sydnee Calhoun – member of 2017 ULethbridge iGEM team and dedicated mentor of the Lethbridge High School iGEM team – stands by her team’s poster at the iGEM Giant Jamboree in in Boston.
10 Quick Questions for Sydnee

  1. How would you describe yourself in one sentence?

An all-around science nerd that loves to learn about new concepts and have discussions with people from all backgrounds.

  1. What do you love the most about your work/school?

I have really been enjoying my higher-level biology and biochemistry classes. Most of them are covering the theory that I have been putting into practice through iGEM for the past 3 years. They are also going into further detail about recent advancements that have occurred, which is always intriguing!

  1. What is your best accomplishment so far?

I think my best accomplishment was last year’s iGEM season. The Lethbridge High School team created a cool project on making eco-friendly ink from E. coli that a lot of people loved at the Jamboree. The Lethbridge Collegiate team also had a fantastic season and our project on developing a system to make synthetic biology more accessible was nominated for several awards. I am proud of both of my teams and all the hard-work that we put in to have successful seasons!

  1. What is something you are working towards right now?

I am currently doing preparatory work for my honour’s thesis that I will be starting this summer.

  1. How do you like to spend your downtime?

Outside of iGEM, I am involved with an outreach program called Destination Exploration at the University of Lethbridge that aims on teaching STEM initiatives to students from grades 3-9. This semester I will be teaching a technology-based club, which is something that I have never done before. I am looking forward to learning more about technology, electronics, and hardware! Outside of science things, I enjoy reading, coffee, and catching up with friends.

  1. What is something you can’t imagine your life without?

I can’t imagine my life without having the quality of being a lifelong learner and always willing to learn something new.

  1. What is one thing that people will be surprised to hear about you?

People might be surprised that I figure skated for 10 years and taught skating for 5 years as well.

  1. What is something you are afraid of?

One thing that I am afraid of is how rapid science and technology is advancing and how policy makers may not be able to keep up with it and don’t include enough people with scientific backgrounds when making decisions on science related matters.

  1. What would you like your work to be ten years from now?

I will hopefully be working in the field of genetic counselling whether it be in policy, academia, a hospital, or private industry.

  1. What is one thing you appreciate about geekStarter?

I appreciate the opportunities that geekStarter can provide for students while they are still in middle school or high school. STEM-based team projects are not common and geekStarter allows students from all backgrounds the ability to try something in this area before going to university.

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