Report from the Field, author Sahana C. (Photo above by Katherine Perez)

The first thing I noticed when I walked in to the June Rockville Science Cafe was how I was one of the only two kids in the audience, and possibly the only student in the audience. But as usual, the area was packed to the brim with people laughing and enjoying themselves, waiting for an enriching science lecture to liven their evenings.

The lecture, however did not commence until after the crowd uproariously and warmly praised an organizer of the RSC cafes [Cristina Paul] for the recognition of her accomplishments, showcasing the beautiful camaraderie in the community.

When the lecture did start, Dr. Ed Einstein gave a disclaimer that he did not have a Powerpoint presentation to aid his lecture. Though I was a bit disheartened by this, I was also struck by how Dr. Eisenstein, rather than just talking at the audience, wanted to have an engaging conversation with the audience. This approach was warmly welcomed, and the lecture took off.

Dr. Eisenstein gave a fascinating lecture on the molecular biology behind genetic modification, the way genetically modified plants are made, and how they are increasingly affecting us as a population. He also spoke about his work in the field of not only genetic modification, but also plant metabolic engineering, and his work as a vital contributor to the Universities at Shady Grove, and his vision for the future of science and his ventures in inspiring the interest of young scientists.

Dr. Eisenstein also noticed and addressed the lack of young students in the audience, possibly due to summer vacation starting, but regardless, he expressed his vision to change this overall trend and engage students into science all year long, specifically in the field of genetic modification. I was certainly intrigued by the topic and I will definitely do more research and get involved.

I wish there were more students there to also get inspired, because opportunities like these cafes which foster scientific intrigue in a comfortable, engaging, and welcoming environment are very hard to come by and they are incredibly valuable in discovering new interests in science, which otherwise wouldn’t have surfaced. The Rockville Science Center presented another excellent Science Cafe, and I can’t wait to get inspired next month!

The next Rockville Science Café will be at Branded ’72 on Tuesday, July 19, 2016.