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.
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: https://biobuilder.org/return-to-in-person-learning-part-1/
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!
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.
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.
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!