Our newsletters highlight a variety of people, organizations, and resources that are doing work to broaden participation and expand equitable and engaging computer science and STEM opportunities. We are honored to work in this space along with so many talented and passionate individuals and want to help bring attention to their work.
This Week’s Spotlight and Project-Inspiration Theme: Women's History Month
Spotlight on Women’s History! This week’s focus is “Women Who Have Improved Our Lives”
For the next month, we will shine our spotlight on the contributions of women in history, culture and society.
This week’s focus is “Women Who Have Improved Our Lives”
Sometimes special people come along who we do not feel impact until they are no longer with us. Their contributions continue to evolve and improve our lives in ways we never imagined. “Cell’-abrate this next woman with us.
In 1951, a young mother of five named Henrietta Lacks was treated for a tumor. What was soon discovered was that Mrs. Lacks’ cells were unlike any others: where other cells would die, Mrs. Lacks' cells doubled every 20 to 24 hours. They became the first cells to grow outside the human body.
The cells— nicknamed "HeLa" cells, have been used to study the effects of toxins, drugs, hormones and viruses on the growth of cancer cells without experimenting on humans. They have been used to test the effects of radiation and poisons, to study the human genome, to learn more about how viruses work, they traveled to space to see how cells react in zero gravity, and led to the development of the vaccines for both polio and HPV, ultimately leading to the eradication of the former.
The use of the HeLa cells has raised challenging issues about medical samples taken without consent and how individuals and their families should be compensated for discoveries based on their tissues. Lacks' story is a prime example of the need to remember that there are human beings behind important discoveries, and that they deserve recognition and respect. You can read more about HeLa cells in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.
Although Mrs. Lacks ultimately passed away at the age of 31, her cells continue to impact the world. Thank you, Henrietta. We ‘cell’abrate your contributions to making our communities healthier.
This week as you practice coding, could you create an informational project about human cells? Maybe you could create a human cell model on Scratch with the different parts of a cell, or could you use a MakeyMakey or micro:bit to create an interactive cell you can touch and explore? Be sure to share whatever you come up with!
Share Your CS to Go Projects!