BIOTECH Pathways Summer Institute

Photo Credit: Lauren Raygor, Harford Community College

Summer and STEM! Harford hosted 17 local high school students for its innovative, grant-supported, BIOTECH Pathways Summer Institute. The students gained both biotechnology skills and a more holistic understanding of potential biotechnology career opportunities while performing hands-on laboratory exercises and using cutting-edge technology.

Harford Community College hosted seventeen local high school students for its innovative, grant supported, BIOTECH Pathways Summer Institute August 1-5, 2022. The students were recruited via evening outreach BIOTECH Pathways Workshops that included their family members. The Summer Institute was open to all 2021-22 high school students (including new graduates) who had taken at least one high school biology course.

The program offered hands-on laboratory experiences in cutting-edge techniques including synthetic biology and clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR), which is gene-editing technology. These techniques are regularly used in biomedical and agricultural applications. Through their use, students gained both biotechnology skills and a more holistic understanding of potential biotechnology career opportunities. Guest speakers throughout the week included Dr. Jared DeCoste, CCDC Chemical and Biological Center; Dr. Mina Izadjoo, President and Chief Science Officer at Integrated Pharma Services; and Mr. Greg Merril, CEO at Adaptive Phage Therapeutics. On the final day of the program, students presented posters summarizing their week’s research to parents and local biotechnology experts, some of whom participate on the advisory board for the program.

Harford Community College Dean Pamela Pape-Lindstrom, Ph.D.; Jaclyn Madden, Associate Professor of Biology and Biotechnology; Breonna Martin, Assistant Professor of Biology; and Dr. Susan Walker, Assistant Professor of Biology, are members of the College’s Biotechnology team that was responsible for the Summer Institute. In addition to the BIOTECH Pathways Summer Institute, Harford Community College held the 2022 BIOTECH Pathways Teaching Academy for local high school educators earlier this summer.

BIOTECH Pathways is supported through a $493,912 grant (Grant No. 2000193, Jaclyn Madden, Principal Investigator) from the National Science Foundation and was developed to create accessible pathways for future biotechnicians to progress from public high schools to degree and certificate programs, to biotechnology careers and/or further study at four-year universities. The project is open to all and additionally targets students traditionally underrepresented in STEM, thus providing opportunities for upward socioeconomic mobility by generating access to biotechnology careers.

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