FlyBoard grants funding to GEP-Translate Initiative

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FlyBoard offered funding to five outreach programs aiming to increase early career scientist participation, equity, and diversity in the Drosophila research community.

Stephen Klusza, Genomics Education Partnership 

The Genomics Education Partnership (GEP) is a 140+ faculty collective that provides undergraduate students with bioinformatic CUREs on manual gene annotation in multiple Drosophila fruit fly species. As part of a global initiative to increase accessibility and diversity retention, GEP is working to translate their “Understanding Eukaryotic Genes” modules on manual gene annotation for undergraduates from English to Spanish. They are also creating accompanying Spanish-language videos. These new materials will be a first step to recruiting and retaining English as a Second Language students in Drosophila research across all postsecondary institutions.

The Genomics Education Partnership (GEP) is a 140+ faculty collective that provides bioinformatic CUREs on manual gene annotation in multiple Drosophila fruit fly species for undergraduate students. To accomplish this task, a wealth of resources has been created to guide both undergraduate students and faculty in training and analysis of genetic sequences in the form of modules which contain protocols, detailed explanations, videos, virtual teaching assistants, and more. However, all materials were created with the English language and there has been a significant rise in the number of Spanish-speaking students seeking help for gene annotation to the extent that we have specific TAs that are fluent in Spanish. As part of a global initiative to increase accessibility and diversity retention in GEP, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee has created the GEP-Translate Initiative to address this language barrier through the following aims:
    1. Provide paid internships for GEP undergraduate students to translate Understanding Eukaryotic Genes modules from English to Spanish
    2. Create accompanying module training videos in Spanish for students and faculty
    3. Mentoring of GEP module translation by Spanish-speaking GEP faculty

We are requesting a $2,000 budget to finance this initiative. Through creation of Spanish GEP modules, we will take the first significant step forward in recruiting and retaining English as a Second Language (ESL) students in Drosophila research across all postsecondary institutions. Successful implementation of this initiative will provide the foundation for future translations of GEP modules to reach additional ESL students and provide them with an exciting experience in genomics research that will significantly increase diversity representation and retention in the Drosophila community.