MassBioEd Connects High School Students with Westfield State University to Explore their Biotech Futures

May 07, 2019

Students from three high schools visit campus to participate in lab-based activities and experience biotech educational opportunities first-hand 

May 7, 2019 (CAMBRIDGE, MA) – Today, students from Chicopee Comprehensive High School, Southwick Regional High School, and High School of Science and Technology will gather at Westfield State University for the University’s first Biotech Futures event, organized by The Massachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation (MassBioEd). Biotech Futures is a college and career exploration event that exposes students to the educational opportunities and diverse fields of study in the life sciences at the college level though hands-on laboratory experiences and campus tours.

“Life sciences companies in Massachusetts are hiring like never before and, as new career paths are coming to light, we want to ensure the next generation of workers are prepared and excited about the opportunities that exist,” said Michelle Mischke, Director of Biotechnology Education Programs, MassBioEd. “We are thrilled to partner with the Westfield State University College of Mathematics and Science as they host their first Biotech Futures event and help further the reach of life sciences education in Massachusetts.”

Students participating in this event will get a tour of the campus and its life sciences facilities and will join six Westfield State University professors – Dr. Kelly Anne McKeown, Dr. Kristen Porter, Dr. Robin White, Mr. Simon Holdaway, Dr. Mao-Lun Weng, Dr. Kim Berman – for a hands-on lab experience. During the lab, “Hitting the Bullseye: Using Biotechnology to Investigate Lyme Disease,” students will work with professors to detect the presence of the bacterium that causes Lyme disease in ticks acquired by two different patients.

“We are thrilled that we have the opportunity to provide high school students a hands-on experience in the field of biotechnology,” said Dr. Jennifer Hanselman, Dean of the College of Mathematics and Sciences. “In addition to being involved with the entire scientific process, students will have an introduction to campus life through a tour and lunch in our Dining Commons. The program, supported by MassBioEd, was developed by six dedicated faculty who are committed to scientific literacy.”

Biotech Futures is a component of MassBioEd’s BioTeach program, which provides lab-based training in biotechnology to 150 public high school science teachers each year, along with funds to public schools for lab supplies and equipment.

Visit MassBioEd to see how you can get involved: https://www.massbioed.org/get_involved.

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About Westfield State University:

Westfield State University fosters intellectual curiosity, encourages critical thinking, inspires civic engagement, and promotes a global perspective. A public teaching institution offering quality programs in the liberal arts and sciences with complementing professional studies curricula, we are grounded in our founding principles of academic excellence and educating all in a diverse and welcoming community. Westfield State develops the knowledge, skills, and character essential for students to reach their full potential and become responsible leaders in society.  We contribute to the economic, social, and cultural vitality of the region.

About the MassBioEd Foundation

Our mission is to build a sustainable life sciences workforce through educational programs that inspire and propel students, engage and excite teachers, and illuminate the pathway from the classroom to careers.  A 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit organization, MassBioEd serves the region by training high school educators, increasing the awareness of high school, college, and post-graduate students to career opportunities within the life sciences industry, providing job trends analyses, and advancing the exchange of ideas between educators and employers to create a world-class life sciences workforce. https://www.massbioed.org/.

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