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DNA Discussion Project


Contact DNA Discussion Project  

DNA Discussion Project

508 Main Hall
West Chester University
West Chester, PA 19382

Phone: 610-436-2283

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The Goal

worldHave you ever wondered about the origins of your family? Are you curious about your ethnicity or race? Have you heard or told stories about your family's past? Would you like to know the truth behind family secrets? DNA is a scientific way to answer all these questions with a high level of accuracy.

Everyone has a unique combination of DNA molecules in their cells. They form a genetic blueprint, providing insights into one's ethnic heritage. But many people don't know what their DNA says about them; and many are surprised when they find out.

The goal of the DNA Discussion Project at West Chester University is to encourage greater understanding of the science of genetics, the construction of race, and the perception of ethnicity. By engaging participants in discussion before and after DNA testing, we are discovering that we share a rich background that is often unexpected.

The Process

  1. Participants answer a Qualtrics pre-survey in which they share what they believe to be their ethnic ancestry, as well as other questions.
  2. Utilizing the DNA sample collection kit mailed to them, they collect a small sample of cells for DNA testing. The sample is processed by a DNA lab that specializes in ancestry.
  3. Within a few weeks, participants are provided the results of the DNA test, reporting estimated percentages of ethnic heritage.
  4. Participants complete a Qualtrics post-survey, where they are encouraged to talk about the results and their reactions to this information.
  5. Participants will be invited to a series of ongoing workshops and discussions about the Project and their reactions to what they have learned about their ancestry.
  6. Please share your pictures, stories, and reactions at
Dna Pamphlet  
Dna Discussion Pie Chart  
Dna Discussion Student talking with Anita Foeman  
Dna Discussion students conversing  

Video Resources

Anitia Video

Dr. Foeman has a discussion about "Untangling our DNA"

Ted X DNA DiscussionPlay video

Dr. Lawton and Dr. Foeman give a presentation on "Our Common Core" - 2016 TEDXWilmingtonSalon

DNA Discussion IntroPlay video

The DNA Discussion Project explained in a short 4 minute video introduction

TED X West ChesterPlay video

Dr. Foeman talks about the DNA Discussion Project in this 2014 TEDx talk

DNA Discussion MontagePlay video

A montage of reactions of participants in the DNA Discussion Project

DNA Discussion ReactionPlay video

A reaction of Danae's participation/results in the DNA Discussion Project

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