Getting to know Jen Lynch – YSP's August Volunteer of the Month
Written by Peggy Ni - YSP Volunteer
Peggy Ni: How long have you been volunteering with the Young Scientist Program?
Jen Lynch: I have been volunteering with YSP since I entered DBBS in 2005.
PN: Why did you get involved with YSP in the first place?
JL: I initially became involved in YSP as a way to do outreach to the St Louis community. I've participated in several science outreach programs from high school through college and this was a great way to do even more and in a more formalized and advanced way. It was also an opportunity to inspire new scientists, giving them opportunities that I participated in as a high school student.
PN: Could you describe some of the YSP activities you have participated in or spearheaded?
JL: I became involved in YSP my first year by creating and leading the forensics teaching team. I was in charge of that team for 3 years. I have participated in Summer Focus, starting by teaching the boot camp for two years and then as a tutor and a mentor. I have been co-coordinator of the lab recycling efforts and chaired the 20th Anniversary Celebration. I think that was my final gift to YSP and a great way to end my years of volunteering.
PN: What has been your most memorable experience with YSP so far?
JL: I love interacting with the students we reach. Teaching team outings have always brightened my day. The students we teach get this look of excitement on their faces half way through the demos and by the end have an insatiable thirst to explore science. It's very rewarding!
PN: I understand that you've been involved with the YSP-MIDSCI partnership. Could you tell us how this got started as well as what this partnership is planning to accomplish?
JL: This is a brand new and exciting new partnership! We were approached by Graziella Mendonsa, a former student and post doc at Wash U, who now works for MIDSCI. As a local company, MIDSCI wanted to give back to the community and Grazie suggested partnering with YSP. Initially, we're using this partnership to provide supplies to our teachers and programs (teaching teams, teaching kits). We're hoping that MIDSCI will increase their support of YSP in the future. We're discussing many opportunities, including how to give our Summer Focus students the opportunity to get supplies for their schools/classes and maybe sponsorship of some of our activities or students in the future.
PN: Finally, do you have ideas on what you'd like to do after graduating and, when it comes to volunteering, whether you'd like to continue doing similar things as YSP or if you'd like to pursue something different?
JL: I am looking into ways that I can combine my Immunology focus with science outreach. I plan on getting a Masters of Public Health or Policy degree and pursuing a career in global health. My goal is to translate science research for non-scientists so the public can make better informed decisions on their personal health. In a way, it's taking YSP's goals to a global level.