Alumni video chat with students

By David Arkow ’20
becker-photo-taken-by-kaufman
Students video chat with biotech entrepreneur Scott Becker ’05. Credit: David Arkow ’20 / SPECTRUM

Students participated in a Google video chat with Harvard-Westlake Alumnus and biotech entrepreneur Scott Becker ‘05 on Nov. 3 during break. Becker, Co-Founder and Chief Business Officer at Delve Therapeutics, spoke to students of all grades at the Middle School who either take programming or will take it in the future about his current job. Becker programs gene-editing software to destroy cancer cells by engineering viruses that inhibit the proteins of cancer cells. During the video chat, Becker showed visual examples of his code in the language Python. The code is then used to program lab robots to build the specific viruses to destroy the cancer cells.

Becker previously co-founded Invite Medi, a display advertising company which was acquired by Google. Becker, currently living in New York, was one of Programming Teacher Jessica Kaufman’s students at the Middle School in Introduction to Programming I and II. Kaufman has had Becker speak to students over video chat and in person before.

“It’s neat to see some of the things that students are learning in programming, biology and chemistry are used in a cool venture that [Becker] is working on now,” Kaufman said.

At the end of the chat, students asked Becker questions about the contents of his code and how the viruses work to destroy the cancer cells. For programming students, the video chat allowed them to see the work of a professional programmer.

“In this generation, programming is becoming increasingly more important. It’s important to expose students at this school to what programmers can do in their everyday lives and how programmers can tie in complex ideas such as biology and fighting cancer to make the world a better place,” Guy Hartstein ‘20 said.

 

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