BRITE is an ITEST comprehensive project engaging thousands of NJ high school students and their teachers in cutting edge molecular biology investigations. Rutgers' Waksman Institute of Microbiology initiated the project to realize this idea: students learn science best by actively engaging in it. For BRITE participants this translates to working together with research scientists, applying the basic principles of molecular biology to try to solve real research problems, and sharing solutions with the larger scientific community. Supported by industry partner GEHealthcare, the project also actively models and mentors students in potential college and career paths.
The program begins with a one-month summer institute at the Waksman
Institute where teacher-student teams learn background
and lab procedures and conduct real genome research. Teachers
then expand their research project during the academic year, incorporating
the learning into formal coursework or after-school research projects.
In this video profile students isolate and sequence genes from Artemia
fanciscana (brine shrimp), then publish their sequences at GenBank —
the international sequence database. Students are motivated by the opportunity
to apply classroom learning to real science, and to “...do a lot
of the same research as professionals do”. They are also challenged
to engage with the larger scientific community,
using information technology (IT) to support their work, returning to
Rutgers for meetings during the academic year, and presenting the results
of their studies at a poster session at the end of the year.
To project site >