Crain’s New York Business recognized Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory DNA Learning Center (DNALC) Assistant Director Amanda McBrien in its 2021 Notable Nonprofits and Philanthropy list. The magazine honored her as an innovator in science education during the COVID-19 pandemic. McBrien discussed some of her work during a LIVE At the Lab webinar conducted on April 14, 2021.
The DNALC was established in 1988. It is the first and largest science center dedicated to public genetics education. A growing network of 20 of these sites around the world provides instruction to hundreds of thousands of students every year.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the DNALC adapted its long-standing hands-on science programs to remote instruction. They created virtual science lessons, including thousands of at-home kits and live or on-demand instruction videos for their YouTube channel, DNALC Live. In New York, McBrien worked with local teachers she already knew to tailor programs to their needs. In 2020, nearly 15,000 students and teachers participated in virtual science camps, field trips, and citizen science research programs. DNALC Live YouTube videos got over 1.6 million views, indicating an even broader impact.
McBrien says, “Being able to provide engaging experiences, in a year where it’s possible students were having far fewer engaging experiences, has been quite a thrill.”
The newest DNALC campus opens this summer in Brooklyn, NY and will be hosting both in-person and virtual science camps.