Hundreds of students and volunteers join statewide Biotechnology Job Shadow Day

June 8, 2010

350 Massachusetts students visit biotech companies for hands-on, real-life experience

More than 350 Massachusetts high school students will spend their day shadowing biotechnology professionals as part of the first-ever statewide Biotechnology Job Shadow Day.Formatech

Today's event, sponsored and organized by the Massachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation (MassBioEd) and the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MassBio), is part of an ongoing effort to increase interest in careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

Biotechnology companies continue to choose to grow or locate to Massachusetts largely because of the talented workforce, however research conducted by the UMass Donahue Institute shows that the Commonwealth’s talent advantage in the industry could erode unless state government, employers and educators work together to maintain it.

“The future of the biotechnology industry in Massachusetts is dependent upon the presence of a qualified workforce,” said Lance Hartford, Executive Director of MassBioEd. “Activities like job shadowing or hands-on science labs are proven to pique students’ interest in STEM and often translate into an increase in students pursuing science in college and beyond.”

The job shadow event is the first statewide event held to draw attention to the growing partnership between the biotech industry and Massachusetts’ future workforce. Twelve biotechnology companies participated by pairing students with scientists for a day of on-the-job experience.

Shire“Learning is a life-long practice. One should never stop discovering, asking ‘why’,” says Indu Javeri, Ph.D., CEO of Formatech. “We need to encourage and help develop this interest with today’s youth—as early as possible.”

“Millipore is pleased to provide opportunities to strengthen students’ interest in STEM and help strengthen the future biotech workforce in Massachusetts,” says Tara Duplaga, Millipore Corporate Giving & Community Affairs Manager.  “We are excited to partner with MassBioEd on this important event.”

"We are pleased to welcome 60 students from Norton High School and Milton High School to EMD Serono," says Renee Connolly, Vice President of US Communications at EMD Serono. "In collaboration with the Mass Biotech Council, our goal is to expose them to the vast array of potential career opportunities available to them in the life sciences as they begin to make choices about their college direction and future. Our employees enjoy sharing their passion for their jobs, as well as the company's purpose of advancing scientific and medical knowledge, with the next generation of employees and future biopharma leaders."

Margarita Hunter, head of Marketing and Communications at Wolfe Laboratories commented, "The partnership between the biotech industry and Massachusetts’ future workforce is extremely important to Wolfe Laboratories, so we are thrilled to participate in the first-ever statewide Biotechnology Job Shadow Day. We will give Boston Latin students the opportunity to observe our world-class scientists developing breakthrough therapeutics that improve human health, to pique the students’ interest in the life sciences.”

The companies and schools participating are:

Abbott Labs (Worcester)                                Marlborough High School

Avecia (Milford)                                               Bellingham High School

AstraZeneca (Waltham)                                 King Philip Regional High School (Wrentham)

Bristol-Myers Squibb (Devens)                       Bellingham High School

Cubist Pharmaceuticals (Lexington)             Lexington High School

EMD Serono (Rockland)                                 Milton High School & Norton High School

Formatech, Inc. (Andover)                              Somerville High School

MicroTest (Agawam)                                      Agawam High School

Millipore (Bedford)                                           Nashoba Regional High School (Bolton)

Millennium: The Takeda Oncology                 Natick High School & Fenway High School
Company (Cambridge)

Shire (Lexington)                                             Brighton High School

Wolfe Laboratories (Watertown)                    Boston Latin

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