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Salk Education Outreach partnered with Mission Vista High School


Typically when Salk Institute Education Outreach partners with a school, they visit the school and use their expertise to help inspire and educate students to want to become scientists. When Dona Mapston, Salk Education Outreach Director, partnered with Mission Vista High School, it was for our students to come to the Salk Institute and use their expertise to inspire and educate Salk visitors.


On October 27, the Salk Institute celebrated the legacy of their founder, Dr. Jonas Salk, by hosting their fifth Explore Salk, an open house event for the public. Visitors to the open house could talk with Salk scientists and explore a variety of scientific exhibits. MVHS students were asked by Salk Education Outreach to create one of the scientific exhibits for Explore Salk. MVHS students Eric C., Thomas D., Connor J., Elizabeth N., Daisy S., Nicolas S., Hannah T., Rebekah T., Joshua U., Austin W., and former student Blake V. custom created and presented interactive virtual reality experiences and entertaining educational computer games for the open house’s Tech Zone: The Technology Behind the Biology.


The MVHS student exhibit was an incredible success. Dona said, “The MVHS student exhibition was a fantastic addition to the day’s program. The students were extremely poised and confident in their work and were able to explain their technology to the all ages audience with ease. It was a pleasure to be able to feature such an outstanding education program as MVHS Computer Science.” Michaela Medina, a scientist in the Laboratory of Genetics of Dr. Dmitry Lyumkis, provided some of the biological models that were incorporated in the VR exhibits. When Michaela viewed her virus model through one of the MVHS VR exhibits, it was the very first time that she had seen this virus in VR. Previously she had only viewed the virus on a computer monitor, but by interacting with the model through the MVHS VR exhibit, she was able to move around the virus and actually view the virus as if she were inside the molecular structure.


The MVHS computer science students have started to develop an impressive reputation for being able to create and present their computer programs at different community events. Computer Science teacher, Jeff Yee, was surprised when he received an email from Dona to participate at Explore Salk. “I couldn’t believe a prestigious research institute would even have heard of MVHS let alone thought it would be a good idea to trust high school students to create an exhibit for such an important event,” said Jeff. After seeing how professional and dedicated the students were with creating the programs and engaging with visitors for nearly five hours at Explore Salk, Jeff realized why the MVHS students have developed such an incredible reputation.


Photo Credits:

pic1 - Daisy S, Elizabeth N, Eric C, Josh U, Austin W.

pic2 - Thomas D, Rebekah T, Hannah T, Blake V

pic3 - Connor J, Rebekah T

pic4 - Austin W, Rebekah T, Blake V, Hannah T

Posted by: MVHS Media Published:11/5/18
Audience: Homepage and Homepage