The DNALC's multi-disciplinary staff has experience in elementary, secondary, and collegiate instruction; biochemistry and molecular biological research; computer programming; design, photography, fine arts, and interior design; science journalism; public relations and development; and opinion research.

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Jermel Watkins, Ph.D.

Staff Molecular Biologist
& Educator

I can attribute my interest in science to my father.  I spent many summers helping him teach science workshops to junior high and high school students at Stony Brook University.  The workshops tested my analytical abilities and sparked my curiosity in the sciences. So, I began an early journey into understanding scientific methods.

As a senior in high school I had a desire to study sciences applicable to biotechnology.  So, I acquired an internship at the Cold Spring Harbor Dolan DNA Learning Center, where I began my submersion into DNA science.  The DNALC provided me with the opportunity to travel to different parts of New York to aid in teaching DNA science to high school students of JFK, Stuyvesant, and Brooklyn Tech high schools.  I worked for the DNALC through my undergraduate studies to supplement my major of Life Sciences with research.  Additionally, I worked alongside my father as head intern of his Minority Science Education Center at the Central Islip High School teaching DNA science.  When I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in life science, I had a strong desire to commit myself to research and I obtained a Research Support Specialist position at Stony Brook University.  It was there that I learned a vast array of knowledge in molecular and cellular biology techniques.  In my technician position, I aided graduate level students with their research projects and managed my own.  

After a few years as a technician, my appetite for science led me to graduate school to attain a professional degree in the sciences.  I began my education toward a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology at Stony Brook University in 2002.  During my graduate education I was a teaching assistant for the undergraduate pharmacology program at the university.  For the first time I realized that I enjoyed teaching science.  I enjoyed and fed off of the interaction and the creative, and sometimes obscure, ideas these students would come up with. In 2006, as an assistant instructor at the Minority Science Education Center at Central Islip High School, I taught minority students a level of science that is fairly uncommon in the normal classroom setting.   I enjoyed these teaching experiences because I was able to see for the first time how I sparked curiosity within the students and made them want to know more.  I was able to share what I have loved throughout my science career: the love of learning and experimentation.

When I graduated with my Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology, I found a job opening at the DNA Learning Center.  I thought it would be great to work at the Learning Center, for it would enable me to teach and do interesting science simultaneously.  No need to tell you how the interview went, so come on down and begin an exciting journey into science!

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