Carol Bradley | July 8, 2017
When Doug Franson shared details of an exciting summer program for children at the Notre Dame Center for Arts and Culture, Lori Bush immediately saw the potential for adapting the program as a staff team-building exercise.
Franson is the assistant director of Segura Arts Studio in the Notre Dame Center for Arts and Culture. Studio staff, including master printer Jill Lerner, report to Bush, director of finance and administration for Auxiliary Operations.
The original program was developed by Jackie Rucker, associate director of community relations, for the summer Innovative Thinkers camp at the NDCAC.
As an enrichment activity for the kids, Rucker pulled together resources from the DNA Learning Center in the College of Science and the Segura Studio — students tested their mitochondrial DNA, then developed an art concept based on their genetic background. Students then printed their designs in the studio.
For the staff project, participants first had their DNA tested through Ancestry.com. For the team-building exercise, Bush brought in Eric Love, director of staff diversity and inclusion in Human Resources to speak to the group.
Says Love, “they looked at their DNA tests, which in many cases revealed genetic backgrounds that were the opposite of what they’d thought. Some had cousins in the audience they didn’t know. We talked about connectedness, and how important it is to know who we are and where we came from. We are more diverse than we think, and we have more in common than we know.”