On April 22, the Manassas Campus of Northern Virginia Community College celebrated the 60th anniversary of the discovery of the DNA structure and the 10th anniversary of the Human Genome Project with a kickoff event for Biotech Week. The opening ceremony featured interesting speakers and special guests from the community, and then the event continued with fun activities, live music and lunch.
The speakers included biotechnology student Mike Sibilo of Manassas and Andrea Gardner, supervisor of forensic casework and a senior DNA analyst at Bode Technology Group in Lorton. Gardner’s informative presentation was titled “Forensics: The Power of DNA.”
Special guests were longtime NOVA supporter Senator Charles J. Colgan and Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul B. Ebert who shared some of his experiences prosecuting high-profile cases.
A DNA art contest allowed students to showcase their creative talents. Ha Nguyen of Manassas won an iPod Touch for first place. Heather Lawrence of Manassas received an Apple TV for second place and Kathryn Goldfish of Manassas won an iPod Shuffle for third place.
Biotech Week was organized by Biotechnology Program Head Ia Gomez along with many NOVA students who volunteered and participated in the hands-on activities, presentations and live performances. More than 200 students, faculty and staff enjoyed the week-long activities.
Other Biotech Week activities were student presentations showcasing environmental applications of biotechnology, pizza and advising night, movie night, and tours of the new state-of-the- art biotech lab in Parrish Hall.
“This educational and fun week was a great example of student engagement,” Gomez said.
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Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through the Extended Learning Institute. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.