On May 10, 2016, 23andMe hosted an event for 31 girls at their headquarters in Mountain View, CA. The girls were 5th to 12th graders from neighboring schools in Silicon Valley.
Following a brief YWIB introduction, the event started with a “get to know your table” exercise which provided for lively discussion between the girls who were seated in groups of about six. At this point, the Academic Program Coordinator at 23andMe gave a brief overview of DNA and shared the mission of 23andMe.
The girls then listened intently to a panel of nine 23andMe women who passionately spoke about their individual role in the company, their career path, and finally career advice. The panel consisted of women in a wide range of positions, including CEO, Chief Legal and Regulatory Officer, Chief Medical Officer, VP Commercial Marketing, Director of Research, and Software Engineer, among others. During the panel, the girls learned that while each career path differed widely, following your passion with an eager-to-learn attitude will lead you to a job that you will enjoy.
Before heading on a tour of 23andMe, the girls enjoyed pizza, fresh fruit and salads, and cupcakes. For the tour, groups of about six girls were led by an employee through the new office space. The girls had the opportunity to see other employees at work in different departments and even enjoy the rooftop deck. During the tour, the girls also had the chance to ask even more questions about what it is like to work at 23andMe. They even learned that everyone, including the CEO, has the same work space in which to work.
The event concluded with a strawberry DNA extraction exercise. Using dish soap, salt, coffee filters, and rubbing alcohol the girls embarked on the messy task of extracting DNA from strawberries. They individually followed a step-by-step lab protocol with employees standing by to assist and answer questions. The girls also received 23andMe notebooks and other goodies to bring home
Overall, the girls were highly engaged and seemed excited about science. When one girl was asked if the event was as good as she imagined it would be, she responded, “It was so much better!” Parents raved about the unique experience their daughters were able to enjoy.
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