Asking why. Building things. Breaking them down into smaller pieces. It’s all part of developing an active imagination, the first step toward a career in science.
Children are natural scientists, engineers and problem solvers, but many times they don’t connect to science as it’s taught in school. That’s why we created Gene Academy, an after-school mentoring program for kids in third through fifth grade, to get them excited about science.
The focus of Gene Academy is human connection through mentoring. Students come to Genentech’s campus once a week for an entire school year. Each student is paired with two Genentech mentors to work together on homework and hands-on science projects that build their interest and confidence in science. It’s a special opportunity for them to receive individual attention from supportive adults.
A typical Gene Academy lesson might involve exploring ways that science can surprise us, like skewering a balloon without popping it or using air pressure to launch paint and create “splat” art. Genentech also partners with the teachers from South San Francisco schools to provide professional development training and materials so they can recreate science activities in their own classrooms.
For our 40th Anniversary, we're sharing some defining moments in our history. Read about how employee mentors inspire South San Francisco students to explore science and a different world.