After a two-year COVID-pause, BioBuilder restarted its Apprenticeship program. Selected high school students from metro-Boston spent 8 weeks in the Learning Lab building their technical knowledge, lab techniques, research-based thinking to prepare them for paid summer internships

A very busy May!

May is the culminating month for BioBuilder’s High School Apprenticeship Challenge. The student poster session and closing ceremony cap off BioBuilder’s flagship workforce training program which officially started in March, though recruitment and applications were underway well before then.

HSAC 2022

About BioBuilder's High School Apprenticeship Challenge

Each year, BioBuilder’s Apprenticeship Challenge enrolls 10 to 25 high school students who are committed to exploring careers in the life sciences. The students are recommended by their teachers from schools all over the Metro Boston and Cambridge area. The class of 2022 included 15 high school students from 11 public schools, and 12 students completed the rigorous curriculum.

Collectively, students traveled approximately 4000 miles to attend the Apprenticeship, coming from their schools to the Learning Lab three times a week. BioBuilder’s Get ‘Em Rolling! Campaign raised funds to support student shuttle buses. Thanks to the generous donations from individuals and matching funds from Marcus Partners, students were shuttled from their schools to the lab. Overcoming the transportation uncertainties was essential for these students to succeed in the rigorous Apprenticeship program.

The Apprentices spent more than 42 hours doing hands-on biotechnology and biomanufacturing system design. The instructors adapted the curriculum that is being used in the college and career readiness program in Massachusetts Innovation Pathways Program (IPP) for Worcester-area high school students.  

Find out more about the classroom and lab content in the blog from earlier this year:

Tackling some important challenges in the world of medicine and the environment

The Apprentices were grouped into four project teams, and showcased their work during a Poster Session held on May 2nd in BioBuilder’s Learning Lab @Ginkgo. 

The four teams presented their work to a supportive group of family, friends, and instructors. In addition, several industry professionals attended the event and talked with the Apprentices about their work, including synbio pros from UCB, Ginkgo Bioworks, Motif, and New England BioLabs and leaders of other outreach programs such as the LEAH Knox Scholars Program at MIT, the Ragon Institute Summer Experience (RISE) internship program, and Harvard MedScience. All were amazed and proud of the work these outstanding students conducted!

Closing Ceremony

On May 12th, it was time to honor this year’s Apprentices. After hearing from the instructors of the program, the Apprentices were inspired by Dr. Meena from UCB who spoke about the relevance of the advanced science that they had learned. His keynote address encouraged these students to be ambitious and know that they can go far, no matter where they are starting out.

The Closing Ceremony was a celebration of these dedicated, joyful, brilliant students who worked so diligently on their own synthetic biology projects. The students were thrilled as they accepted their well-deserved certificates, and their families were just as excited and oh so proud of their kids!

The smiles all around the room said it all.

Apprenticship grad

The students are now preparing for their paid summer internships at life science companies or research laboratories. Their employers are going to be so happy with the lab skills, professional skills, and synthetic biology know-how these students gained during the Apprenticeship Challenge.

We're 100% confident that these students are going to thrive in their summer work and beyond!

BioBuilder just wrapped up another year of eye-opening Career Conversations with synthetic biology students, faculty, and industry leaders to learn about their day-to-day work as bioengineers, as well as those pivotal moments, key teachers and mentors, and life-changing experiences that led to their fulfilling work. Check out this lineup of guests just waiting for you to watch or listen!

  • Zeke Alvarez-Saavedra, Founder at miniPCR
  • Sarah Elkondakly, BioBuilder Apprentice graduate and now undergraduate student at Brandeis University
  • Chloé Baron, Post-Doctoral Researcher at Zon Lab
  • Stephen Gunstream, CEO & President at Teknova
  • Julius Lucks, Professor of Chemical & Biological Engineering at Northwestern University
  • Michelle Dziejman, Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology at the University of Rochester Medical School
  • Jacqueline Fidanza, Vice President of Operations at Twist Bioscience
  • Patrick Holec, PhD Candidate in Biological Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Ria Kothari, High School Junior at Dobyns-Bennett High School
  • Jenn Brophy, Assistant Professor of Bioengineering at Stanford University
  • Kerry Black, Head of Early Solutions US Operations at UCB
  • Chris Kuffner, PhD Candidate in Biomedical Engineering at Boston University
  • Marsha Rolle, Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute
  • Abbie Underhill, Product Manager at Scientific Bioprocessing Inc.
  • Doug Densmore, Professor in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at Boston University
  • Adrienne Mckee, Director of Platform Partnerships at Checkerspot, Inc.
  • Pamela Shehu, Undergraduate student at Northeastern University
  • Kevin Solomon, Assistant Professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Delaware

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