On January 7, 2014, 245 Massachusetts high school students and 19 teachers participated in the Biotech Futures Day held at Bridgewater State University. Biotech Futures is a college and career exploration event that exposes students to the educational opportunities and diverse fields of study in college/university science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs though campus tours and hands-on laboratory experiences.
The program, organized by the Massachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation (MassBioEd Foundation), is part of an ongoing effort to increase interest in careers in STEM fields.
“Biotech Futures allows students to apply science and theory to the practical world while exploring university labs,” said Lance Hartford, Executive Director of MassBioEd Foundation. “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.”
Throughout the day, students participated in several hands-on labs led by Bridgewater State University faculty. Among other activities, students had the opportunity to apply visible spectroscopy to a chemical analysis of sports drinks, make “algae balls” to explore photosynthesis and alternative energy creation, use DNA chips to study gene expression in cancer cells, and examine DNA evidence in a crime lab activity.
The program for the day also featured industry speakers Vincent Chan, Ph.D., Research Scientist, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Sebastian Kraves, Ph.D., Co-founder and Principal, Amplyus; David I. Lichter, Research Investigator, Translational Medicine, Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company; and David S. Mantus, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Director, Regulatory Affairs, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences University.
Participating schools included:
- Blackstone-Millville Regional High School
- Braintree High School
- Dartmouth High School
- Dedham High School
- King Philip Regional High School
- Old Rochester Regional High School
- Scituate High School
- Seekonk High School
- Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical High School
Biotech Futures is one of a series of biotechnology education and career exploration programs organized by MassBioEd Foundation. Other programs include an annual statewide Biotechnology Job Shadow, the BioTeach grant program, and professional development courses for the industry. MassBioEd receives financial and programmatic support from the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MassBio) and its 620 member organizations.
About 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 workforce to meet the growing employment needs. MassBioEd’s BioTeach program provides professional development to over 700 teachers in their biotechnology curricula and provides grants and lab equipment to 185 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.