Camila Serna ’16
What is your major?
I am a double major in psychology and biology.
What did you think of the book?
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book. I am very interested in science and its development, and this book dealt with that. Readers were able to see the steps taken to fully culture HeLa cells and all of the scientists who were involved in the process.
Interestingly enough, however, the author was able to incorporate an aspect that is, at times, disregarded in the science field. Rebecca Skloot undertook a vast amount of research to uncover the story behind the women who the cells came from. She was able to place a face and story behind the cells. The book was a perfect combination of scientific development and the family that it affected. Furthermore, the book contained enough aspects to interest more than science majors. The moral and ethical dilemmas incorporated into the story caught the eye of many.
What was it like working with cells that have been so important to medicine and science?
The development of HeLa cells is one of the greatest advancements the science field has yet to see. This development opened the door for scientist to continue on discovering the world. It was an honor to be able to work in a lab with such an advancement. I remember thinking "Wow, I'm working with a strand of the original cells that were cultivated decades ago."
Did you like the hands-on aspect of the course?
I really enjoyed the hands-on aspect of the course. You can only take notes off of a PowerPoint for so long. Bio lab allows us to apply what we have learned. I can hear the importance of the HeLa cells for weeks, but I won’t be able to fully understand the concept until I am standing in front of a petri dish with the culture before me.
What do you think of the idea of having a common reading that can be applied to a course?
I think having a common reading that can be applied to a course is a good idea. We came into school having read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and had formed opinions about the medical system during that time. Now we have a year to support, disprove, and even expand upon these pre-conceived notions. A common reading assignment will only deepen the interest of students in the subject and aid in their development as hands on learners and thinkers.