Jackson Laboratory hosts open house for students

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BAR HARBOR, Maine (WABI) - The Jackson Laboratory hosted their first open house for high school students at their Bar Harbor location.

"We have over 100 students here from over 40 high schools in the state,” said Mike McKernan. “They're here to not only learn about what the Jackson Laboratory does, they're also here to learn about biomedical research in general."

The event offered a unique opportunity for kids to learn about science from local professionals.

"I really like science, I've always liked science,” said Alex Maker, a 10th grader from Washington Academy. “I want a career in science, preferably after college. I guess it's the adventure of exploration and finding out the unknown. It's really interesting."

The students also had a chance to speak with college representatives about pursuing higher education. The lab set up different workshops to better match the student's interests, even for those not looking to get into research.

"I want to be an FBI agent, so I just want to be able to learn to figure out what time of death, and how it was killed, and what genetics it had," said Tabitha Pottle, an 11th grader also from Washington Academy.

"The idea of the day really is to give students the ability to choose from a menu of different activities because we know that their interests are very diverse, and so we've selected a diverse set of things from which they can chose," said McKernan.

Buses were set up across the state to help kids get to the lab. Folks there say the effort put into the open house is worth it to inspire the next generation of scientists.

"It benefits everyone to have a more diverse biomedical workforce,” said McKernan. “We all benefit from increased research knowledge which ultimately leads to outcomes in better human health."

"It definitely helps, definitely makes me feel like I have an actual opportunity,” said Maker. “It makes me feel like no matter where I am, I'll always have the opportunity to invest in science and explore."