To help students planning their professional careers understand the opportunities in the fields of genetics and genomics, the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) today launched the Genomic Careers Resource on the institute's Web site, www.genome.gov. The careers resource showcases nearly 50 career opportunities through video interviews, career profiles, tools to rate potential career choices, and an interactive game.
"It would have been valuable to have such easily accessible career advice when I was a student," said Eric D. Green, M.D., Ph.D., director of NHGRI, part of the National Institutes of Health. "The Genomic Careers Resource will get current and future students excited about careers in genetics and genomics, showing them how they can contribute to improving human health and a better understanding of our biological world."
The Genomic Careers Resource Web site, available at www.genome.gov/GenomicCareers, is aimed primarily at high school and college students. Institute staff unveiled the new resource today at the annual National Science Teachers Association meeting in Philadelphia. Science teachers were encouraged to share the resource with other educators and school guidance counselors who play critical roles in guiding today's students toward careers.
"We designed the career resource to showcase real people engaged in a wide variety of activities in the fields of genetics and genomics," said Vence Bonham, chief of NHGRI's Education and Community Involvement Branch, which created the new Web site. "It is filled with tools that can help students narrow down the careers they want to pursue in these growing fields."
The Genomic Careers Resource currently has the following major components:
Welcome videos explain how to use the Web site and give an introduction to genomics. There is also a link to an educator page, where teachers can view a lesson plan to integrate the Genomic Careers Resource into their curriculum. The Web site also includes a share button that gives users the ability to distribute content through social media networks.
The Career Tracker, a tool that helps users keep track of careers they like best, allows users to rate careers and video interviews on a scale from one to five stars. The more stars a user assigns, the more the user's interest in that career and the easier it is for Career Tracker to recommend which career path the user might want to consider.
This section features video interviews with professionals and tours of genomic facilities. All videos are closed-captioned and include transcripts. Each interview or tour peeks into the lives and workplaces of genomics and genetics workers, from young people just starting their careers to nationally recognized leaders. When available, the site provides links to related videos. Users can explore what others in the same or similar fields have to say. Most interview videos also include links to related Career Profiles.
The Career Profiles database contains profiles of approximately 50 jobs in genomics and genetics. Each profile features a job description, career outlook, and description of working conditions, in addition to education requirements, average income, and other information.
A TV icon at the top of a career profile links to video interviews or tours associated with that career. The video helps put the profile into a real-life context.
Once users are familiar with the resource, they can take the Genomics Challenge. This quiz randomly selects six videos featuring students already pursuing careers in genomics and genetics. While the video is playing, the user must determine what career the student is pursuing and select it from a list of career titles. At the end, a score is given.
This section provides links to reputable learning resources, professional organizations, and science news sources; it's a great resource for teachers, too.
"As a science educator who travels to schools throughout the year, I thought it would be important to develop a resource that would attract a diverse audience of high school and college students to the growing and broadening fields of genetics and genomics," said Carla Easter, Ph.D., NHGRI science education specialist who led the effort. "There are many resources available to students who are making science career decisions, but few that allow them to get an authentic sense of what lies before them as does the Genomic Careers Resource."
In addition to NHGRI researchers and staff, participating organizations providing expertise and time to the Genomic Careers Resource include GeneDx, the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the National Library of Medicine, the NIH Intramural Sequencing Center, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, Concordia University, Prince Georges County Public Schools in Maryland, Arizona State University, and John Hopkins University. A complete list of organizations and individuals is available at http://www.genome.gov/GenomicCareers/credits.cfm.
NHGRI is one of 27 institutes and centers at the NIH, an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services. Additional information about NHGRI can be found at its Web site,www.genome.gov.