“We believe scientists and engineers create a real wealth for our society,” stated Good Samaritan Institute’s (GSI) Program Director, Doug Liles. “When you have technological advances, its helps everybody.”
Liles is originally from Memphis, Tennessee. In addition to being a successful builder, he has a master’s degree in microbiology, and always wanted to get back to science. He started Good Samaritan Institute to facilitate science education and share information. “I saw a real, unmet need where scientists and engineers weren’t really sharing their best practices,” said Liles.
Good Samaritan Institute started the “Santa Rosa Project” where they conduct workshops with scientists from all over, who work in the fields of biology, microbiology, cancer, chemistry, computer science, engineering, imaging, mathematics and nanotechnology, who visit Santa Rosa Beach, and take part in conferences held at GSI where they can put forth their research and information, and determine “best practices”. These practices are then published on the Web at www.BestInScience.com to be shared with the world.
“It’s a great time to be alive. I don’t think people really realize in the history of mankind what an awesome time this is to be alive,” said Liles. With information at our fingertips through technology, this shared information can be spread almost instantaneous and reach millions.
Currently, Good Samaritan Institute has a 7,000 square foot facility in Santa Rosa Beach off 393 with office space, a conference room, and a lecture hall where they can conduct Webcasts with people all over the world. They’ve been holding workshops since the beginning, working with cancer researchers the first five years, and now as a result, there is a cancer vaccine in clinical trials.
A year ago they broke ground on Point Washington Preserve(PWP) , off JD Miller Road, building a 5,000 square foot pavilion for science and engineering workshops, and a cabin to house guests. The PWP is completely off grid, Solar panels and Tesla Powerwall; 2 batteries provide all the power. “With being off grid, and some of the other things that we’re doing, being surrounded by state forest, has made it to where people are seeking us out… we’re slowly getting on the map!” he said.
At the beginning of next year, GSI will host a workshop for the Santa Rosa Project at Point Washington Preserve. This workshop will be for electrical engineers to research and test ways to make batteries more efficient and cost effective. This will potentially provide advanced information on renewable energy.
In addition to the Santa Rosa Project, Good Samaritan Institute also has learning programs – continuing education for teachers and a Virtual Mentor Program for students. In the Virtual Mentor Program, students connect to scientists and engineers (from NASA and University of Florida) in live feeds via the Web, and they talk about what they do for a living and projects they are working on. Good Samaritan Institute has worked with several schools in the area, including Butler Elementary, Emerald Coast Middle School and South Walton High School. “We are trying to inspire more young people, students, to consider these career paths,” said Liles.
Good Samaritan Institute is a nonprofit organization that receives most of it’s funding through renting office space and grants. They welcome donations and sponsorship. They are also open to ideas for research topics, and working with families who have been personally affected by specific types of cancer. You can find out more about Good Samaritan Institute by visiting www.goodsamaritaninstitute.org.