NET Nebraska | Is DNA Ancestry?

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March 18, 2021
4:00pm Central Time
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Join NET Nebraska for a virtual discussion of genetics and ancestry. Learn how ancestry testing works and discuss the differences between genetic ancestry and cultural heritage. Panelists include:

- Dr. Carla Easter, Chief of the Education and Community Involvement Branch at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)

- Dr. Kenneth Ramos, Executive Director, Texas A&M Institute of Biosciences and Technology and and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs, Texas A&M University System

- Dr. Dennis Smith (Fort Peck Assiniboine), Associate Professor of History and Native American Studies at the University of Nebraska Omaha

- Robin Bowman, Professional Development Associate at the Personal Genetics Education Project (pgEd) (moderator)

"Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.," Season Seven episodes will broadcast throughout Winter/Spring2021 and will continue to feature exciting new guests who are game-changers in their fields, with family histories that illustrate the power and diversity of the human experience. Among them are actors Glenn Close, John Lithgow, Jane Lynch, Audra McDonald, Christopher Meloni and Tony Shalhoub; acclaimed musicians Clint Black, Rosanne Cash and Pharrell Williams; groundbreaking directors Kasi Lemmons and John Waters; renowned journalists Gretchen Carlson and Nina Totenberg; hilarious comedians Lewis Black and Jim Gaffigan; popular late night personality Andy Cohen; and more to be announced.

Assembling the extensive family trees and family narratives alongside Dr. Gates are DNA expert CeCe Moore (Founder, The DNA Detective and host of ABC’s The Genetic Detective), and new lead genealogist Nick Sheedy, who carries on the work of founding series genealogist Johni Cerny (Founder, Lineages), who unfortunately passed away in early 2020.

The latest season of Finding Your Roots airs on Tuesdays at 8pm eastern/7pm central on PBS through May 4, 2021.

Learn more about the series:

Join the conversation #FindingYourRoots

Corporate support for Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Season Seven is provided by Ancestry and Johnson & Johnson. Support is also provided by Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, The Carnegie Corporation of New York, Candace King Weir, The Zegar Family Foundation, Lloyd Carney Foundation, and by The Inkwell Society and its members Felicia A. and Benjamin A. Horowitz Fund; Demond Martin; Sheryl Sandberg and Tom Bernthal; Jim and Susan Swartz; Anne Wojcicki; John H. N. Fisher and Jennifer Caldwell; Fletcher and Benaree Wiley; Gwen and Peter Norton; and Darnell Armstrong and Nicole Commissiong. Major support is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and PBS.

Video Description

Welcome to OVEE

1min 29sec


  • Maggie Berndt

    Community Engagement Manager for NET, Nebraska's PBS & NPR Stations


  • Panelist Avatar
    Dr. Carla Easter


    Carla Easter, Ph.D., is chief of the Education and Community Involvement Branch at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). She played a major role in the development of the NHGRI/Smithsonian exhibition Genome: Unlocking Life's Code, and its accompanying website, and serves as a liaison to the K-12 and university community as a speaker on genomic science and career preparation and pathways. Dr. Easter also serves as an adjunct faculty member at the University of the District of Columbia Department of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. From 2003-2006, Dr. Easter was director of outreach for Washington University School of Medicine's Genome Sequencing Center. Before assuming her role as outreach director, Dr. Easter was a research associate in the Department of Education at Washington University (2001-2003) where she explored the notions of science among secondary students. She served as pre-college coordinator for the NASA Summer High School Apprenticeship Research Plus Program and project associate for the Quality Education for Minorities Network. From 1997-2000, Dr. Easter conducted post-doctoral research at Washington University School of Medicine on the virulence factors associated with Streptococcus pyogenes. Dr. Easter earned her bachelor's degree in microbiology from the University of California, Los Angeles and her doctoral in biology with an emphasis on molecular genetics from the University of California, San Diego.

  • Panelist Avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Ramos


    Kenneth S. Ramos, MD, PhD is an accomplished physician-scientist with designations in the National Academy of Medicine and National Academy of Sciences. He is a transformational leader recognized throughout the world for his scientific contributions in the areas of genomics, precision medicine and toxicology. With formal training in pharmaceutical sciences, chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacology, and medicine, Dr. Ramos is helping to steer the changing landscape of medicine, biotechnology and healthcare. In this context, he leads several translational, clinical research, and educational programs that integrate diverse approaches to elucidate genomic mechanisms of disease and to develop novel therapies for several oncologic, pulmonary, and vascular diseases. Dr. Ramos has provided academic, executive, administrative, and scientific leadership in the areas of genetics and genomic medicine and toxicology at various academic institutions and over the course of his career has positively influenced the career of numerous clinicians and scientists engaged in medical, veterinary and pharmaceutical practice. He is deeply committed to initiatives that advance modern technological applications to improve quality of healthcare and reduce disease burden and health-associated costs.

  • Panelist Avatar
    Dr. Denny Smith


    Born and raised in Montana, Dr. Smith is an enrolled member of the Assiniboine Tribe, Fort Peck Reservation, Montana. With an Assiniboine, wheat-farming father who loved to hunt and fish, the family reveled in much of Montana’s glorious outdoors. A former physical therapist, Dr. Smith returned to his great interest – Native American history – earning a M.A. in History from the University of Montana in 1983. He began his academic career as Academic Dean of Fort Peck Community College (a tribally-controlled college), and later directed the Indian Studies Program at Morningside College [Sioux City, Iowa] (1989-2000). He received a Ph.D. in History from the University of Nebraska in 2001, and joined UNO in 2002. Dr. Smith is an active member of the Native American Studies Program. Dr. Smith’s areas of study emphasize Native American history and cultures (especially northern plains tribes), federal Indian policies, and Native American environmentalism. His primary interest continues to be Fort Peck Assiniboine culture and history. He is coauthor of The History of the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Reservation: 1600-2000 (2008; revised ed. 2012, which extends study to 2012). In addition to three beautiful daughters, outside interests include contemporary energy and environmental issues, Wimbledon, University of Montana Grizzlies football (and go Huskers), and both kinds of music: country and western.

  • Panelist Avatar
    Robin Bowman


    Robin Bowman is the Professional Development Associate at pgEd, focused on the organization’s work with teachers. Robin plans and delivers professional development workshops, classroom visits, and community presentations, which have taken her across the country from Massachusetts and Rhode Island to California, and from Alabama to Nebraska and South Dakota. Recent projects include the “Sex, Genetics and Athletics” lesson, speaking at multiple professional conferences, and spearheading pgEd’s partnership with WETA as educational outreach partner for the April 2020 release of the PBS documentary “The Gene: An Intimate History”. An advocate for inclusion, Robin believes in the power of education and respectful dialogue to foster a more just society. Outside pgEd, Robin is a sports risk management consultant specializing in collegiate recreational sports. In her free time, Robin enjoys exploring New England with her wife and daughter. A native Midwesterner, she’s still trying to develop a taste for seafood.

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The views and opinions expressed in this online screening are those of the presenters and participants, and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of ITVS, public broadcasting, or any entities hosting the screening.