New Classes In Biotechnology And Engineering Now Offered At UNM-LA Teen College

Students from UNM-LA Summer Program for Youth Teen College take part in The Art and Science of Surviving a Zombie Apocalypse in 2014. Courtesy/UNM-LA


UNM-LA News:

Brush the summer cobwebs off your teenagers’ brains and get them excited about learning on a college campus with the latest Summer Program for Youth at UNM-LA.

The program for younger students began in 1985, took a three-year hiatus in 2009, and then resumed in 2012 when classes for teens were added.

With a goal of making learning fun for kids entering 7th–10th grades, UNM-LA’s popular Teen College offers a variety of hands-on classes to the community. Affordable, intriguing, and with a nice late start for your teen to get his or her necessary sleep, classes run from 1–5 p.m., Monday–Friday, July 27–31, at the UNM-LA campus. (See all Summer Program for Youth classes here.)

Two new classes offered this summer, Engineering and Biotechnology, will introduce youth to the exciting world of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Los Alamos Daily Post “Amateur Naturalist” columnist and longtime high school math and science teacher Robert Dryja will show teens how to turn an idea into a concrete device in the Engineering course. Students will design, construct, test, and evaluate models using imagination and experimentation, indoors and outside.

Prisca M. Tiasse, owner of the local independent research laboratory Biodidact ( will teach youth how to extract their own DNA, how to clone a gene, and how to detect GMO food.

Other classes that will get the kids’ creative juices flowing are Cartooning, Game Design, and Digital Movie Making. Professional comic artist Tracy Bailey has worked with Image, Titan, and DC among other notable names in her field. Students in her Cartooning class will explore techniques to create professional comic panel layouts, character designs, and scene lighting, and will learn tips and tricks to transfer sketches from paper into graphic software.

What kid hasn’t dreamed of creating his or her own video game? Game Design instructor DeBray Bailey will share his passion for game development using freely available software from the internet, and cover subjects such as sprites, enemies, basic AI, basic level loading, and more.

Rod Sanchez, Ph.D., the founder of Purple Neuron digital media studio (, will bring his experience with digital techniques used in the motion picture industry to our Digital Movie Making class.

“Our instructors are professionals who are active in their fields and make a living doing what they’re teaching,” said Gabriel Baca, Community Education Program Manager at UNM-Los Alamos. “These classes give kids exposure to the concrete value of education straight from the people who are using it daily.”

UNM-LA Summer Program for Youth is generously supported by Merrick & Company, the Bradbury Museum, the Los Alamos County Cooperative Extension Service, PEEC, the Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities, and UNM-LA Student Government.

For more information about these classes, contact UNM-LA Community Education at 505.662.0346, or by email Registration is available online here.


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