Saltsburg lecture

Saltsburg High School students posed for a picture with Sam Rhine, genetics lecturer. (Saltsburg High School)

The conference, hosted by Gateway High School, was about genetics, hot research areas and career opportunities in the field of genetics.

Attending the lecture were 15 students, all freshmen and sophomores. The trip was sponsored and paid for by the Saltsburg Schools Foundation.

Rhine has crossed the country for more than 30 years presenting conferences for people who are intrigued by science, especially genetics. Rhine has devoted himself to take information out of biology textbooks and see how it applies to the real world. For the past several years Rhine has concentrated on Genetic Update Conferences, talking to biology teachers and students about the newest scientific discoveries.

The conference at Gateway focused primarily on genetics and new research on the subject. The students heard fascinating information on the subject.

“We learned that humans actually have a tail when we’re developing,” said sophomore Kerra Stover.

This new information allowed students to see a completely new side to science that they’ve never seen before. They could even want to continue their search for knowledge about genetics or biology, and may want to continue this path by choosing a career in this field.

Some students had unique experiences that they took away from this conference that they may never experience again.

“It was interesting to see how scientists are discovering new ways to cure diseases,” said Cheyenne Weimer.

Attending the conference was an experience that exposed students to information they may not have otherwise learned in a typical classroom environment and it could possibly change their lives. It could let students see science from a different perspective, and may even encourage them to want to continue to learn more — perhaps by studying genetics in college.

Petree offered the opportunity for interested students to attend this conference, hoping to show them how this could be connected to his biology classes.

Concerning the connection between his biology class and the study of genetics, Petree said, “The topic of genetics is central to the study of biology. In both Biology I and II students learn how mutations to genes can affect an organism negatively. Through his conference, Mr. Rhine described new technologies that can be used to treat and potentially cure genetic diseases.”

There was useful information discussed in the conference that could be used in many different situations. Petree said that the most useful information was “how current and up-to-date the information presented was. Some of the research Mr. Rhine discussed in his presentation was published within the last two weeks.”

It’s not every day that students get to learn from an expert in their field and a graduate of Harvard Medical School. Petree hopes that the lecture, and Rhine’s work with genetics, inspire his students.