By Johanna Jobin, Executive Director of the Biogen Foundation and Global Head of Corporate Reputation & Responsibility at Biogen
Biogen is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Biogen Foundation and Biogen Community Lab this year, recognizing 20 years of caring deeply in the communities we serve. Established in 2002, the Biogen Foundation is committed to advancing science education, health equity, and food security in underserved communities by providing $70 million in the past 20 years and establishing corporate Community Labs in Massachusetts and North Carolina. The Biogen Community Lab is a free science education program for students in middle and high school, and it has welcomed over 61,000 students since launching in 2002.
The Biogen Foundation has been a proud supporter of a variety of impact-driven organizations in the past 20 years, and we are thrilled to celebrate their accomplishments as part of our anniversary. The Massachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation (MassBioEd) has been a Biogen Foundation grantee for many years, building a sustainable life sciences workforce through educational programs that engage and excite teachers, inspire and propel students, and illuminate pathways from the classroom to careers with a focus on expansion, opportunity, and diversity.
With Biogen Foundation’s support, MassBioEd has engaged and supported science teachers through its BioTeach program. BioTeach includes workshops, mentoring, virtual training, online curriculum, and career awareness programs that deepen the ability of teachers to fully engage students with lab-centered, authentic life sciences activities that provide their students with crucial skills and insight into the life sciences industry.
Sarah Goldberg, science teacher and Biotechnology Pathway Lead at New Mission High School, is one of BioTeach’s participants. Sarah came to BioTeach to gain experience in developing curricula and engaging students in labs after she changed her career from research to education. After attending BioTeach’s Summer Institute in the summer of 2019, completing an externship with BioTeach that same summer, and participating in workshops, Sarah teaches AP Biology, Biotechnology 1, and Biotechnology 2. She uses BioTeach’s labs and activities to get students to think deeply about new topics, such as drug development, modern scientific research ethics, and career pathways.
“BioTeach has been an essential part of me starting my career in teaching, as well as growth as an educator over the past three years,” Sarah shared. “Being a first-year teacher is hard, let alone also developing a new biotechnology pathway and curriculum. BioTeach gave me the tools to start my career with confidence and have a successful first year of the Biotechnology Pathway. Since then, they have also helped me envision and grow my potential as a possible future teacher leader in this niche field of teaching, Biotechnology.”
Biogen Foundation is honored to have supported the development of every teacher who has participated in MassBioEd’s BioTeach program and is excited to continue our support for science educators and their students for the next twenty years and beyond.