Welcome Letter


We welcome you today to "Nice Genes, Dr. Frankenstein: Genetics and Millenial Culture," one of the many outstanding outreach projects spearheaded by the Intensive English Seminar here at Huron High School. Our journey towards an understanding of the ties created between science and the arts will begin today, as we sit together by questioning, challenging, and examining how those scientific advances can and will affect our political, artistic and popular culture, and most importantly, our everyday lives.

We are thrilled that you can join us for this exciting and rewarding educational experience. Intensely visual, the discussion will be framed with many images from popular culture and the symposium will reflect the questions we ponder about the advances of science and its relationship to our culture. We do not offer answers to these queries; we only hope that you may leave the symposium with more questions. It is in the reflection that discoveries and advances are made; it is in the integration that the universe is made whole. We hope to help you piece together the puzzle of the arts and the sciences; we in IES have come to believe they are very much alike. 

Recently, there has been a media frenzy about the potential of genetic engineering. Although the idea is not new in agriculture or even with animals, the potential of human cloning has sent journalists, artists, and political groups into a whirlwind of speculation. Genetics related headlines have plastered the covers of TIME and The New York Times Magazine, not to mention numerous professional journals. Additionally, this year the National Academy of REcording Arts and Sciences nominated the British band, Radiohead for Album of the Year for their latest for their latest work, Kid A, a concept album about the first genetically cloned child. Genetic possibilities are endless, but the questions surrounding the "genetics" are equally limitless.

Today we offer a profound debate about the ethics of genetic engineering, and we want to garner every perspective possible, especially yours. You are our future politicians, artists, scientists, and citizens; these issues will ultimately be in your hands, and our fates will rest with your understanding and knowledge of them. The time to begin embedding this understanding and knowledge has arrived today at this symposium.

All the people here today, the panelists, students, and supportive families who are participating in Nice Genes, Dr. Frankenstein, are doing so because they believe in the educational mission of the Intensive English Seminar. All these participants want to bring the pertinent, controversial, and exciting new advances of our world to your world. IES applauds the generosity of all those who have made this event a possibility. We are also grateful, once again, with the help of grants from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, Pfizer Inc., Amgen Pharmaceuticals, the University of Michigan Life Sciences, Values & Society Program, and the content support of Dr. Steven and Robin Kunkel. Without all of the above and their vision and persistence Nice Genes (and IES) simply would not have happened. These are people who care about the limitless possibilities knowledge can foster.

Good Vibes,

Ryan R. Goble and Jennifer Boylan