About This Project
Our team's six members all attend Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia. Although this may seem like a "lack of diversity" on our part, nothing could be farther from the truth. Our high school accepts students from all over Northern Virginia; we live in six different towns. Most of our parents were born in different countries, and, between the six of us, we speak four different languages at home.
Our cultures and families are not the only things that separate us. One thing that this project has shown us is how very, very different we are from each other. As we worked with each other, joked with each other, and occasionally argued with each other, we slowly came to realize that if we were ever put into the same room together for more than a few hours, someone might get seriously injured. Actually, what we realized was that, because of the strong individuality and varied perspectives in each of us, our spirited debates always resulted in a product that we could not have come up with alone.
The job of selecting our team's members began with our fearless leader, Ben. As members started trickling in, we found that some of us were almost strangers. Admittedly, in the beginning, discussions were slightly awkward and restrained. However, as we became more familiar with one another, we quickly got to work and, over time, formed the banter-filled relationship we have today. In addition to developing a mutual respect for each other's minds and ideas, we have also developed a friendship and camaraderie that can only come from months of hard work on a shared interest.
Choosing a topic was not a difficult task. We all held a great interest in biotechnology, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to learn about something we cared for. However, it was very difficult deciding on a unique way to present our information. Ben had the idea of acting as a biotechnology company, which we all agreed upon. Then the work began.
Communication between our members was surprisingly internet-dependent, considering the fact that we attend the same school. We mostly relied on emails and our on-line forum, occasionally coordinating meetings through Instant Messenger. We met periodically to stay organized and updated, but most of our work and communication was done over the Internet.
Working on this site has been an unforgettable experience for all of us. We are all grateful to have had the opportunity to learn so much about our topic and about each other. It has been truly incredible and we sincerely hope that you all will enjoy it as much as we have.
Location: Great Falls, Virginia
Ben, our team leader, was responsible for researching recombinant DNA and carbohydrates. He also helped with the programming and editing of our site.
Location: Herndon, Virginia
Andrew, our webmaster, was responsible for almost all of the programming and web designing. As our resident expert on all things relating to website formatting, he created most of our layout for the website.
Location: Springfield, Virginia
Jane was responsible for researching gene therapy, genome sequencing, and bioethics. She also took part in editing and created our games and puzzles.
Location: Reston, Virginia
Joel was responsible for researching biological weapons, nucleic acids, and DNA and RNA. He also took part in editing.
Location: Vienna, Virginia
Sharif was responsible for researching drugs, and lipids. He also created our site glossary.
Location: Oakton, Virginia
Sharon was responsible for researching stem cells and proteins. She also took part in editing and wrote some non-scientific aspects of our site.
Mr. Charnitski, our coach and a teacher here at TJ, was an amazing help to us in all aspects of this project. He was constantly encouraging us and helping us to stay on track. In addition to his perpetual support, Mr. Charnitski was always pointing us in the direction of further help and information. When we needed to find a reliable person to talk to about a topic, or when we desperately needed help with technology problems, we relied on him to get to where we needed to go. He helped us accomplish everything we hoped for while making the experience even more enjoyable and fun. Mr. Charnitski was more than just our coach and mentor – he was our stalwart and we are eternally grateful for everything he has done for us.
As we worked on this project, we encountered a number of problems and roadblocks that we couldn’t have gotten through without the help of others. We would like to thank our teachers, families, and friends. This would not have been possible without you all.
In addition, we would like to thank those who gave us support or permission to use their resources.