College President, Faculty and Students Participate in Joint Effort with West Chester University to Spur Conversations about Culture and Identity Using DNA
(Delaware and Chester Counties, PA • October 22, 2015)—Delaware County Community College President Dr. Jerry Parker, faculty members and a student will participate at 11:10 a.m., Tuesday, October 27 in “Unraveling the Tapestry of Your DNA: What Are Your Origins,” a panel discussion that is part of a broader, joint initiative between the College and West Chester University known as the “DNA Discussion Project.”
The panel discussion will take place in Room 1403 in the STEM Center on the College’s Marple Campus, 901 South Media Line Road, Media, PA. Although this is an internal College event which is not open to the public, members of the news media are welcome.
Prior to the discussion, participants are asked what they think their background is; then, they take the DNA test. Working with a laboratory, they provide saliva samples. Saliva contains deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), which carries genetic information. The participant’s DNA is compared with other regionalized DNA samples, enabling the lab to deduce from which regions of the world the participant’s ancestors most likely originated.
The DNA Discussion Project is a creative way to encourage discussions about the influence of race, culture and cultural perceptions on communication and self-identity. “I volunteered to participate in the DNA Discussion Project because it is a wonderful way to engage students and staff in discussions about the important roles culture, diversity and science play in our everyday lives,” Dr. Parker said.
Participants in the panel discussion will include: Dr. Parker; West Chester University Communication Studies Professor Dr. Anita Foeman; Delaware County Community College Adjunct Instructor of Communication Studies Tyler Daniels and Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Robert Suran; as well as Communication Studies student Alyssa Massarella. Sidney Kolpas, assistant professor of Mathematics will moderate the panel discussion, which is part of the College’s Boeing STEM Speaker Series. Coordinated by Kolpas, the series is designed to spur student interest in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
Dr. Foeman, who teaches Intercultural Communication at West Chester University, created the DNA Discussion Project to help students, faculty and staff understand the profound influence culture and cultural perceptions have on guiding and shaping communicative behaviors. Recently, she sought to extend the project to other colleges and universities. At Delaware County Community College, Dr. Foeman has collaborated with Daniels and Communication Studies Assistant Professor Tanya Gardner. To learn more about the DNA Discussion Project, see www.dnadiscussionproject.com.