Jan 26, 2023 - Inside 23andMe

A New Program Brings High School Students to 23andMe

This summer brought special visitors to 23andMe: 10 high school students from Streetcode Academy, a Bay Area nonprofit committed to empowering communities of color with access to technology.

Our Exposureship participants pose for a group selfie.

The students spent one week exploring life at 23andMe as part of a newly developed Exposureship program. 

They attended panels and workshops hosted by 23andMe and StreetCode with subjects ranging from career development to diversity, participated in team meetings, scheduled one-on-one discussions with employees, and capped off their experience with presentations and a celebratory lunch.

“We wanted to create a one-of-a-kind experience that would build connections in both directions — giving students a window into life at a tech company, and giving 23andMe employees the chance to connect with the next generation of innovators in our community,” said Sarah Laskey, Ph.D., a Senior Scientist at 23andMe who was actively engaged in creating the program.

One student’s experience

For Ziyan Batada, a senior at Mission San Jose High School in Fremont, California, the program presented a chance to accelerate learning and experience the “range of professions and ventures in [the field of] genetics.”

“I was very excited because 23andMe is my dream company to work at,” Ziyan said. “I am interested in the workings of life, both the psychological and biological aspects.”

Ziyan kept busy during his week at 23andMe. He had in-depth conversations with therapeutics and computational biology team members and attended four different meetings.

“I got to learn a lot about the culture at 23andMe and the value of higher education,” he reflected.

He also had the opportunity to speak to a 23andMe employee who is neurodivergent, just like him. “I am neurodivergent,” Ziyan explained, “and I got to learn from a high-achieving member of the neurodivergent community [at 23andMe] about his struggles and how he worked with them to get far in life.”

This type of authentic connection embodies the goal of the exposureship program, Sarah said. “They say, ‘if you can see it, you can be it.’ That’s what the Exposureship was all about. Now, these students have seen what it means to work at 23andMe, and maybe they’ll be back in a few years to work with us!”

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