Mol Gen Delivers Real World Science

By Eugenia Cardinale, Editor-in-Chief

In December, The Observer published an article about how MCPS was considering a change in the science curriculum that would possibly cause cancellations of certain classes, including Molecular Genetics. However, despite confusion, the class will be available for the 2017-2018 school year.
Molecular Genetics (Mol Gen) is a double period college-level science class. The class, taught by Virginia Brown, is only available at CHS. Topics covered in the class include protein synthesis, DNA replication, bacterial transformation and much more.

The class is hands-on and lab-focused and is not only extremely valuable for science lovers, but for those who don’t feel that science is their strength as well.

I have never been a math and science person. I usually don’t enjoy those classes as much as I do English and Social Studies classes.

I took a chance when I took Mol Gen, because I wanted to push myself and try something new, and I’m very glad I did.

According to Brown, Mol Gen provides CHS students opportunities that are usually only available in a student’s third or fourth year of college, or possibly even as late as graduate school.

This gives students planning on majoring in the sciences the advantage of not only having knowledge on lab procedures and scientific methods, but the experience as well.

According to CHS alumna and current University of Pennsylvania freshman Sydney Veator, Mol Gen helped her establish critical lab skills that have been useful to her in college as a nursing major. The experience she gained from the class helped her see how certain scientific processes, such as bacterial transformation, occur and gave her a great background for material she is currently learning in college.

The importance of crucial lab skills is the focus from day one in Mol Gen. The very first lab gives students the opportunity to practice and perfect their pipetting skills and ensure that they know the ins and outs of the professional scientific equipment.

For the type of learner I am, I do believe Mol Gen was the correct choice for me, because having the hands-on experienced has truly changed how I view the sciences.

While Mol Gen is not labeled as an AP class, it is still a challenging course. However, coming from a humanities oriented student, I think the class truly makes the information accessible and easy to understand, and help is readily available.

Additionally, the opportunity to take a class that is solely taught at CHS is an opportunity that students should not take lightly. Mol Gen is not only a class but a true experience that cannot be found anywhere else.

In the second semester of Mol Gen, students also have the opportunity to become published scientists. They learn how to fill out a laboratory notebook properly, and participate in a research project where all materials are legal documents.

This is another helpful real-world experience unique to Mol Gen, because it allows students to learn how to build professional relationships, since throughout the process the students’ work gets checked by the professional scientists.

Taking this class makes you a part of a small group of people who have pursued a challenging but remarkable course. It will truly set you apart from others when it comes to college applications, internship opportunities, or even science classes in college.

Cancelling the class would be a great injustice to the CHS community. It is among one of the special opportunities that are provided to CHS students, and dismissing the course would be deleting part of what makes CHS so unique.

For students who have sat in science classes and been interested, but have not felt inspired or connected to the content, Mol Gen is the way to go. The class is worth the double period time commitment and provides unique experiences not usually available to high school students. Afterall like Brown said, in Mol Gen you don’t just learn science, “you do science.”