Representatives from the Lambert High School iGEM program made their way to Washington, D.C. early this week to take part in the 2019 White House Summit on America’s Bioeconomy, school officials say.
Abby Bell, captain of the Lambert iGEM team, and science and biotechnology teacher Janet Standeven were two of a select group of experts from the fields of science, technology, public health and agriculture that were invited to the White House on Monday, Oct. 7 for the daylong summit.
The summit, according to a White House press briefing, was held to discuss the U.S. bioeconomy, which spans multiple fields including health care, information systems, agriculture, manufacturing and national defense, and represents 2% of the United States GDP.
As a student representative of iGEM, Bell was asked to speak at a reception following the summit, telling the group about the impact that the iGEM program has on students.
iGEM, or International Genetically Engineered Machine, is a worldwide competition that challenges students to solve problems and complete projects using synthetic biology.
In 2018, the Lambert iGEM team earned a gold medal and four “Best in the World” awards at the annual iGem Jamboree, held in Boston, Mass., for their project to detect and predict outbreaks of waterborne diseases before they happen, using materials that can be bought easily or made cheaply by a 3D printer.
After the summit, Bell and Standeven said that they were honored to attend the event and to see the serious emphasis that science was given by administration officials.