Return to News

MassBioEd held its 7th Annual Champions for Biotechnology Education Awards Reception on Thursday, October 27th. The event was held at the Museum of Science in Boston and celebrated accomplishments in science education made by a teacher, company, and public advocate. A student scholarship award was given to a student who has demonstrated academic excellence and a dedicated pursuit of life sciences studies in college. Meet the 2022 Honorees.

Corning Life Sciences

Champion Organization

Corning Life Sciences provides high quality, innovative products for life science applications, enabling researchers around the world to make and deliver life-changing discoveries. It is a division of Corning, one of the world’s leading innovators in materials science, with a 170-year track record of life-changing inventions. The Corning Incorporated Foundation is a charitable contribution organization established in 1952. The Corning Foundation focuses on education, human services, culture, and volunteerism in Corning business locations. The focus area of “education” concentrates on STEM and STEAM programming as well as workforce development. The Corning Foundation awards grants to K-12 grade schools as well as community organizations encouraging young people to learn science, technology, engineering, and math topics and continue that education after high school for meaningful careers. The Corning Foundation has been a proud partner with Massachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation since 2014.  

“We are committed to investing in the next generation of diverse, talented scientists here in Massachusetts, and throughout the world. They are the ones that will push us further in treating the currently untreatable, guiding life science product development and R&D, and doing the work in a more sustainable way. This recognition from MassBioEd is an honor and underscores the importance of partnership and support across the industry.” John Tobin, GM and VP at Corning Life Sciences, Tewksbury, MA

Debora O’Reilly

Biotechnology Teacher at Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical High School

Champion Teacher & Henri A. Termeer Educator Grant Recipient

Debora has been a classroom teacher for 16 years and a career vocational teacher for 8 years. During her first 16 years of teaching, she taught forensics, chemistry, and physics. Over the past eight years, she has been teaching Biotechnology at Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical High School, where she has worked tirelessly to bring the most current skills in Biotechnology to her students through the Biotechnology Career Technical Education program. Through her professional development at MassBioEd, New England Biolabs, Cell Signaling Technologies, and many more, she has implemented new research projects into her classroom and is modeling lifelong learning for her students. She connects students to real-world research experiences through her relationships with MiniPCR and Amgen Biotech Experience and Harvard University. During COVID, Debora set up virtual internships for her students and taught research based experimental design. She began a program for her students to perform science outreach at regional middle schools. Debora continues to challenge herself, her most recent goal is to become more advanced in using and understanding Nextgen sequencer (an iSeq). Through her continued collaboration with universities and her colleagues, she adds compounding value to the community of practice at her school and within the Biotechnology Career Technical Pathway. Debora holds a Master’s in Education from Salem State University and a Bachelor’s of Science in Chemistry with a Biochemistry minor from University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

“I will be using the award to attend the NABT conference. I have only been to the conference twice. During one of the conferences, I sat through a presentation by the National Agricultural Genotyping Center and began using the protocols to test for these pathogens.  Both times I have come back rejuvenated and excited about teaching. Having the opportunity to attend the conference will directly impact my students in the best ways possible.”

Wahaaj Farah

Boston University Student from Roxbury Prep High School

Champion Student & Henri A. Termeer Student Scholarship Recipient

Wahaaj graduated from Roxbury Prep High School in June 2022 and is currently studying public health and health sciences at Boston University. Wahaaj is a dedicated student who is driven to become a physician that advocates for patients regardless of race, social status, or religious affiliation, to ensure that all patients are treated fairly and are heard. Wahaaj has already given back to his community in many ways including tutoring other students and hosting events that serve to educate youth about health and wellness. He participated in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Human Resources in Action LEAH Knox Scholars Program and completed a summer internship at Boston Children’s Hospital. He has demonstrated an eagerness to learn and continuously grow. The Henri A. Termeer Student Scholarship recognizes an excellent student committed to pursuing a career in the life sciences and provides $2,500 towards tuition.

“‘Quran 5:32 whoever saves a life is as though he had saved all mankind.’ The health field is very rewarding, and this quote from the Quran describes why I am so passionate about STEM, which provides opportunities to impact humanity through one’s work which can change lives for the better. When you save a life, whether that is through your research, or as a medical professional, your work, and your effort to help people is as if you are helping all of mankind, meaning the work you do impacts so many people.”

Senator John. J. Cronin

Massachusetts, Worcester and Middlesex District

Champion Public Advocate

Senator John J. Cronin was elected to the Senate in 2020 and represents the communities of Fitchburg, Leominster, Gardner, Berlin, Bolton, Lancaster, Lunenburg, Sterling, Townsend, Westminster and Clinton (precincts 1 and 2), which make up the Worcester and Middlesex District. Senator Cronin’s legislative agenda aims to achieve mental health parity in the Commonwealth, to increase social mobility through equitable access to workforce development pathways, and to promote the revitalization of Gateway Cities.

“The way to grow and sustain the life sciences sector across the Commonwealth is to invest in its future workforce–in every corner of the state. As a Senator for two Gateway Cities in Central Massachusetts, our region is collaborating with MassBioEd to develop equitable workforce pathways to both spur social mobility and build out a vibrant 21st-century economy. I’m honored to be recognized by MassBioEd and look forward to our continued partnership to grow the life sciences sector across Massachusetts.”

Senator Cronin serves as Chair of the Joint Committee of Municipalities and Regional Government and as Vice Chair of Tourism, Arts, and Cultural Development. He is also a member of the Joint Committee on Education, the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, and the Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Business. Senator Cronin is a graduate of West Point and Suffolk University Law School. He is a former U.S. Army Infantry Officer and a combat veteran with multiple deployments to Afghanistan. Prior to his election to the Senate, he served as a veteran advocate at the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School.

The Champions Awards Reception was on October 27th from 6:00pm to 9:00pm. Information about the event can be found here.