Local students explore Biotech Futures
Hands-on event links students with biotech, life sciences, STEM careers
January 11, 2012 — Today, over 240 Massachusetts high school students and teachers participated in Biotech Futures, a full-day career exploration event featuring scientist speakers, panel presentations, company presentations, science demonstrations and laboratory visits at Bridgewater State University.
Today’s event, organized by the Massachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation (MassBioEd) is part of an ongoing effort to increase interest in careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.
Lance Hartford, Executive Director of MassBioEd, said Biotech Futures “will allow the students who participated to apply science and theory to the practical world while participating in university labs. It is this blend of academic and experiential learning that provides students with the opportunity to fully grasp the wonders of science and career possibilities.”
MassBioEd receives financial and programmatic support from the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MassBio) and its 600 member organizations.
Throughout the day, students participated in several hands-on labs showcasing topics and techniques including green chemistry, green fuels and biodiesel, building virtual experiments with LabView, strawberry DNA isolation, BSU CRIME (biological microscopy), fluorescence spectroscopy in sciences, making microalgae balls to investigate photosynthesis, and the human involuntary reflex response.
“We need to get young people excited about learning science and engineering, and about careers in these fields. Biotech Futures provides kids with hands-on opportunities to learn, and more importantly, to be inspired. The students make Biotech Futures a success with their enthusiasm, curiosity, and their amazing potential to learn," said David Mantus, Senior Vice President for Development and Regulatory Affairs with Seres Health, and the keynote speaker at Biotech Futures.
Other industry speakers included Mark Carlson of Organogenesis and Deborah Morosini of AstraZeneca.
The schools participating were:
Dighton Rehoboth Regional High School
Holbrook Junior Senior High School
Norton High School
Norwell High School
Scituate High School
Sturgis Charter School
Biotech Futures is one of a series of biotechnology education and career exploration programs sponsored by MassBioEd. Other programs include an annual statewide Biotechnology Job Shadow Day, the BioTeach grant program and Learning Center courses for professional development in biotechnology.
About the MassBioEd Foundation
The Massachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation (MassBioEd), founded in 2001, is a nonprofit charitable organization committed to supporting science and biotechnology education in Massachusetts through school programs, workforce training, and lifelong learning. Serving as a link between education, industry, and government, MassBioEd is working to ensure Massachusetts’ biotechnology sector, has an appropriately trained work force to meet the growing employment needs. MassBioEd’s BioTeach program provides professional development to over 500 teachers in their biotechnology curricula and provides grants and lab equipment to 179 schools across the Commonwealth. In addition, MassBioEd’s BioTech Learning Center offers professional development courses for employees in the biotech sector to advance their professional skills.