STEAM Towards a Healthier World

Sofia Guerrero

The Overlake School, WA

Senior (2019-2020)

Career Goals:

As I enter my final year of high school, I continue to be interested in pursuing scientific research, particularly CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing. I believe that the use of this technology has enormous repercussions for our society, particularly when it is used to edit the human germline. As the stakes grow higher, I want to be a part of the next generation of scientists that shapes how and when CRISPR-Cas9 and other gene editing technologies interact with humankind.


What did you learn from this course?

Through the STEAM course, I learned about the value and accuracy of P4 medicine as well as how it will come to revolutionize the traditional clinic and the way we approach disease. I also learned about the many flaws of the American healthcare system and about the people trying to improve those flaws and work towards a healthier population.


What advice do you have for future Ambassadors?

Be open to all guest speakers, particularly those you feel don't resonate with your current career interests. There is so much more to healthcare and medicine than traditional lab research. You will be amazed at how much diversity there is within the life sciences.

– Showcase Project –

"The World In Your Hands"

Who/What inspired this project?

Out of all of the wonderful speakers we have had the privilege of listening to, Sean Gibbons blew me away with his presentation on the microbiome. Having briefly heard about the multitude of bacteria living on me, I was shocked to find out how influential they are in maintaining our health and well-being. As I sat there listening, I got to thinking about how far this field is capable of going in the coming years and wondered if there was a way to artistically instill that same curiosity in others.

How does your project communicate the relationship between the environment and health?

This piece is meant to initially catch the eye of the beholder through the bright colors of the bacteria on each of the hands. As the viewer moves closer, they begin to notice the names of several bacteria that have been identified as a part of their microbiome. Hard to spot for a viewer looking at the piece in daylight, the entire piece is covered with glow-in-the-dark painted bacteria, symbolizing both an entire world of bacteria that exists in the environment as well as how much we have yet to learn about the microbiome's power and influence. I chose to depict several hands approaching each other because I wanted to show how everyone's microbiome is different based on the experiences we have had in our different environments. If you look carefully, some hands have microbes that others are missing and vise versa. I also wanted to symbolize collaboration between scientists studying the microbiome as the field continues to grow and make huge contributions to medicine.


Who is your target audience?

My target audience is anyone who is interested in biology, medicine, or STEM in general but who isn’t necessarily familiar with the microbiome or its importance. I want people to want to explore the microbiome after looking at this piece. I also I hope to inspire the next generation of scientists to consider using their skills to further explore the microbiome and hopefully find innovative methods for curing disease.


As an Ambassador, how do you plan to share your message with your target audience?

I will be displaying this art piece at ISB and/or the P4 Medicine Institute, where anyone interested in experiencing preventative, personalized, predictive, and participatory medicine can view this piece and consider learning more about their microbiomes.