Bulletin, Institute

CLSI Partner NexGeneGirls featured in first Genentech “Communities” Video Series

NexGenNexGeneGirls founder and Scientific Researcher at Genentech, Marlena Jackson, is featured in the first video in Genentech’s “Communities” series: What Does a Scientist Look Like?  The series is intended to highlight remarkable employee services to the community.  While an employee of Genentech, Ms. Jackson founded NexGeneGirls in 2011 to provide opportunities in STEM fields to young females of color in underserved communities. Since then, she has served over 300 girls through workshops, trainings, mentoring, and internships by providing a multi-generational teaching and substantive, hands-on science experience for African American female high school students. Watch the video here.

CLSI formally partnered with NexGeneGirls in October of 2016 to develop the 2017 NexGeneGirls Bootcamp and Summer Internship Academy.  Over the spring, the program provided hands-on laboratory skills training taught by students in City College of San Francisco’s Stem Cell program to six high school females, helping them to master basic laboratory techniques such as pipetting, general biosafety, DNA extraction, and cloning and plasmid maps.

This summer, the girls interned three days per week in labs at UCSF, NexGenThe Gladstone Institutes, and San Francisco State University. On the other two days, they provided after-school science workshops for middle school students at the Boys & Girls Club of San Francisco, and participated in enrichment seminars and field trips with professional women from industry.

The program will culminate with an Awards Celebration on July 27 during which the NexGeneGirls will present scientific posters on their internship research projects. The Honorable Edwin M. Lee, Mayor of San Francisco, will give remarks at the celebration.

NexGeneGirls was also a recent winner of the SPARK Igniting Global Change competition, led by a philanthropic network of young professionals who invest in innovative, grassroots, women-led organizations that are transforming communities.

About Marlena Jackson

A native of the Bayview, Marlena Jackson is the founder of NexGeneGirls, a grassroots organization committed to empowering young girls of color by providing access to careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Aware of the asthma and breast cancer prevalent in her community, Ms. Jackson worked her way through City College of San Francisco’s Bridge to Bioscience program and San Francisco State University, and is currently a scientist at Genentech, one of the world’s leading biotech organizations. Marlena founded NexGeneGirls to develop science competency for young females of color from Bayview Hunter’s Point (BVHP) and other underserved communities, opening doors to rewarding and lucrative STEM careers. She has run the program on top of her full-time job for over four years.

In 2016, Ms. Jackson was selected as a Change Maker at The White House United State of Women Summit in Washington, D.C. She was also a featured speaker at Mayor Ed Lee’s Bay Area Women’s Summit that same year. She has been honored by Senator Mark Leno, Mayor Edwin Lee, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, and the Commission on the Status of Women and Girls as one of the “Women Inspiring Innovation through Imagination: Celebrating Women in STEM.” A proud mother of two daughters, Marlena has also been honored by the Sun Reporter as one of the “The Talented 25” who are working to make the lives of others better.

To learn more about NexGeneGirls, contact Marlena Jackson at