YWIB-RTP participants attended an event at Alexandria LaunchLabs AgTech in Durham, NC on November 6, 2019. AgTech consists of 7,140 employees in 302 companies which includes Boragen and Vindara.
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The young women, 6th to 12th graders, at this event were treated to a tour through the LaunchLabs site. One of the highlights was the amazing hydroponic grow room in the laboratory space where they were shown a plethora of basil plants that are not otherwise grown in nature due to the seeds being more ancient than those growing today. Additionally, there were two presentations given by AgTech’s Megan Lyman, M.S., J.D. and Jade Stinson, Ph.D. Ms. Lyman discussed her indirect route to becoming an intellectual property officer with Boragen and the importance of Boragen’s research and benefit to agriculture. Dr. Stinson also discussed her exciting route to becoming a co-founder of the start-up, Vindara and explained the novelty of Vindara’s research and its broader impacts on the future of feeding the world as resources become fewer and the population continues to grow.
After the presentations, the participants had the opportunity to engage in an engineering activity allowing everyone to work in teams and to be creative with their brainstorming and execution of the task to move plastic cups into a tower using only string, a rubber band, and straws. This was followed by a pizza dinner which allowed the women to interact with other female AgTech employees to ask further questions about careers and schooling paths.
This event was well received and was successful because of the amount of effort put in by the staff at LaunchLabs including Heather Furcillo, Jennifer Gilson, and Ellie Brandon. Special thanks to our speakers Megan Lyman and Jade Stinson as well as the employees from the AgTech companies who came to the pizza party and helped during the lab tour. Also, we greatly appreciate the help of the WIB volunteers including Kaitlyn Bacon, Doreen Grech, Smitha Rag, Jennifer Freeman, Stephanie Ham, and Erin Jezuit.