Organization Spotlight: iGEM
Updated: Sep 13, 2021
When students decide to attend college, they often find themselves focusing on working toward their degree and excelling in their classes. However, many students also realize when they get to college, that they might want to join an extracurricular organization or two. Students will often realize that one of the best aspects of the college experience is finding an organization to belong to that enriches their lives outside of the classroom. With that in mind, students may also want to know what exactly to look for in a student organization. In order to answer that, a student should think about what they are looking to gain from a student organization. For some, a student organization is a way to gain further experience toward their degree or career interests; in that case, students might look to join a design team of some sort. In other cases, students might like to spend their free time giving back to the community and volunteering; those students might look to join some sort of service organization. Others may be looking for an organization that caters to a specific hobby or interest, and most students enjoy the added benefit of simply making friends.
When it comes to the Missouri University of Science and Technology, there is no shortage of options when it comes to choosing a student organization. For some, joining multiple organizations is a way to stay involved while also working toward different goals. I believe that one of these organizations that offers many benefits to students is iGEM. The International Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) design team is an organization here on campus that would pique the interest of any biological sciences lover. On their home page, which can be found through the Missouri University of Science and Technology engage/campus labs website, iGEM discusses how they use synthetic biology in their organization. They define synthetic biology as “the engineering of biological systems to create solutions to current problems in medicine, agriculture, environmental contamination, and energy, just to name a few.”
The organization goes on to state their purpose: “iGEM is an international collaboration to create an open gene library full of standardized biological parts for genetically modifying organisms. Teams from over twenty-six countries meet annually in the fall at the Regional and World Jamborees to present research, discuss the progress of synthetic biology, network with other teams, and, of course, compete. The Missouri S&T iGEM team is an interdisciplinary design team that uses synthetic biology to help solve the world's problems.” With all of this information in mind, it is no surprise that some students are drawn to this student design team. It not only allows students to gain experience in the lab and make new friends, but it is also a way for students to feel as though they are truly making an impact by working toward a common goal.
For any student here at Missouri University of Science and Technology that finds synthetic biology fascinating and is looking to become involved in the organization, joining is fairly straightforward. The design team has meetings at least once a week (sometimes twice) and has a competition season that begins in January and ends in December. The best way to reach out is by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and inquiring about membership.