Team:NU Kazakhstan/HP/Silver

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Education and Public engagement

As a team, we are concerned about the development of science in Kazakhstan and also at Nazarbayev University. We launched several programs to popularize science and we divided them into two parts: science among the youth and science among the general population. For youth, we opened three programs, which involve lectures, seminars, and internships for all categories of students from our university as well as from outside schools. For the general population, we tried to engulf as much as possible of people’s attention on chromate pollution and science popularization by presenting our ideas and knowledge via TV and science-pop journals.

For university students

Every year, we launch our own initiated internship for all students of Nazarbayev University in biotechnology. In the previous years team NU_Kazakhstan had maximum of 9 people. This year our team considerably expanded to 14 students. More and more students from our university become interested in iGEM and express their wish to participate next year. The most interested students can join our iGEM team (this is how we feed our team with newcomers). This internship is helpful in order to develop the practical basis as a fresh researcher. The students who are succeed in our program are welcomed to join other research teams as well as iGEM team.

Our first day of training for the newcomers! Lesson 1: How to inoculate bacteria and not contaminate the rest part of the lab.

For Talented Students

Our one of the most successful programs is an internship opportunity for the Kazakhstan’s team of High School students, which participates in International Biology Olympiads. The purpose of this internship is to help young biologists to understand the practical part of biological sciences. This internship is useful because it is necessary for High School Students to have this opportunity due to the fact that IBO requires practical skills and theoretical knowledge of research techniques. We want to emphasize that our university and our team is one of the only places where practical part of biology is available and accessible for High School Students in Kazakhstan, and we cannot neglect that our team put enormous effort to support this program. We collected the most talented biology students from all of the parts of Kazakhstan in partnership with Nurorda High School. The results are more precious, because all four High School Students who participated in IBO 2016 Vietnam won three bronze and one silver medal (results), which is the first incidence for Kazakhstan. In addition, some of our team members still guide and monitor the National Olympiad in order to select the most talented young biologists and prepare them to IBOs. The winners of IBO competition are welcomed to continue their academic life at Nazarbayev University. public3

The photo from our internship for Talented Young Biologists.

Inclusive Science

Except the internship opportunities with iGEM team, we advocate for minorities in science as some of our team members launched seminars on Queer and Feminist Talks where we invited the most popular Human Right Defenders and Scientists such as Zhanar Sekerbayeva from Feminita, Gulya Zhakupova from UNI, Akmaral Sman from UN WOMEN, Robyn McCutcheon (former researcher at NASA), Amanda Simpson (Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy, U.S. Dept. of Defense), Ainura Absemetova (UN Volunteer in Lilongwe) and others. We accomplished these series of events because we believe that science is for everyone and we welcome all people to join our team especially unprivileged and discriminated groups. public4

Meeting with Amanda Simpson (Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy, U.S. Dept. of Defense) and Robyn McCutcheon (former scientist at NASA).

Meeting with Akmaral Sman, UN Women.

Meeting with Muslim Feminist girls Meruyert Smagulova and Nurila Ydyrys.

Women in Tech

We believe that science starts from the High School table. That was the reason to support Women In Tech program by our university computer science majors. We invited all 8 grade High School Students from NIS (Nazarbayev Intellectual School) Astana to have a tour and seminar in our lab to present the chemistry between computer science and biotechnology. As a result two girls showed their interest and completed their High School project with our team. public7

From the tour in our lab: Here you can see 8 grade students, who eager to keep in touch with us in the upcoming years.

Presentation at NIS School

The purpose of having meetings and seminars with High School Students is to advocate for science and to popularize scientific view among youth. We participated in the series of lectures for High School students to talk about iGEM, synthetic biology, opportunities in science and problems with ecology in Kazakhstan. public8

Meeting with NIS Astana Mid and High School students.

Raising awareness among the general population

Our team members were constantly bombing all existing media in Kazakhstan with science and ecology problems. For instance, Valdemir Kim and Mariyam Akizhanova had a unique chance to rise the problem of chromate pollution and synthetic biology as its solution on the National TV Channel ‘Qazaqstan’. You can watch it in Kazakh here. Valdemir and Mariyam were introducing the problem of pollution and advocating that synthetic biology is one the solutions overcoming ecological catastrophe.

Moreover, Sultan Mussakhan could write an article for the international science-pop journal OYLA about DNA and its implementation. This journal is sold in three languages: Kazakh, Russian and English (Australia). You can look for the journal here. In addition, he was introducing science stuff in underground lectoriums like PechaKucha Almaty (the video is here - only in Russian) and in other hipster journals like the-steppe (the link to the interview - in Russian). As a result, he could reach to ~30000 people via media according to the statistics of the mentioned journals.