Molecular Genetics at WF West High School is a cutting edge, hands-on, research-based science program that is both very unique and advanced for the high school level. Programs like this do not exist at many high schools, and in fact it would probably be a challenge to find twenty like it in the entire nation.
It is a two-year program, with the first year focused on techniques related to DNA manipulation, analysis and testing. Students get a heavy dose of information about the inner working of the DNA within our cells, and study the genetic testing procedures used in hospitals and crime labs. In the second year of the program students have the opportunity to take the knowledge learned from their first year and apply it directly to a lab-based research project, some of which are equivalent to graduate-level research and have garnered awards and scholarships at national competitions, such as the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium.
Molecular Genetics students also gain tremendous leadership experience and life-long management skills by organizing Biotech Day. This annual event brings nearly 200 students from all over Southwest Washington to participate in a one-day, fun-filled, lab-based event in which they solve a mystery using DNA fingerprinting and other cutting-edge technologies, and hear speakers from Biotech-related fields.