BioBuilder has grown over the past several years in many ways – students, programs, supporters, and team members. We share a lot of news about about students, educators, supporters, and programs. Here’s some of what’s going on behind the scenes to make them all happen.
You may remember reading about Stephanie Ovitt when she joined BioBuilder in July 2021. In her role as Director of Programs, Stephanie oversees and supports the implementation and growth of BioBuilder programs.
Stephanie’s two-year anniversary with BioBuilder is fast approaching, so Device Dude caught up with her over coffee to learn what’s been happening in her world.
Stephanie! Long time, no see! Okay, first question. What were you most looking forward to when you started working with BioBuilder nearly two years ago now?
I’ve always been passionate about expanding access to quality education, and when I joined BioBuilder I was excited about helping bring synthetic biology to students around the country and the world! It’s so important to give students the opportunity to “see themselves” in a field as they consider their career path, and I was looking forward to contributing to that goal for students interested in synthetic biology.
What aspects do you most enjoy now?
I particularly enjoy seeing the results of students’ participation in BioBuilder programming. It’s very fulfilling to see students start a program with a lot of interest and passion but not a lot of experience, and emerge from the program able to articulate new concepts and share creative ideas for how to solve the big problems facing the world.
How has your role evolved over the past two years?
A lot has happened over the last two years! One big change was when we returned to in-person activities last year. Then I started being able to work on programs that bring students into the Learning Lab @ Ginkgo.
Is there a specific instance that made you think, “this is why I came to BioBuilder”?
One of the highlights for me the last two years has been attending the High School Apprenticeship Challenge celebration in the spring of 2022, and then seeing what the alumni have gone on to do. Watching students grow and feel empowered to pursue a career they care about reinforces why I enjoy my work with BioBuilder so much!
What are you working on these days?
I’m currently working on a variety of exciting things! One is organizing this year’s BioBuilderClub Final Assembly, which is a chance to celebrate the hard work BioBuilderClub teams have been doing this year. I always enjoy seeing the creativity students bring to their projects. I’m also working on preparing for the 2023 High School Apprenticeship Challenge.
What’s coming up that you’re excited about?
I’m especially excited about this year’s High School Apprenticeship Challenge! It’s great to see how dedicated and passionate the students are, and it’s wonderful to watch them grow in confidence and skills throughout the program. I’m also excited for BioBuilder to reach even more students! I think that more and more students are eager to learn about the synthetic biology field and will be very excited to get involved with BioBuilder’s programming.
Thanks so much, Stephanie, for sharing this with me and our readers. You’re a tremendous asset to both the BioBuilder team and our students!
BioBuilder is excited to announce a new partnership that will help us the next generation of synthetic biologists! STEM Pathways is the outreach program of the Living Computing Project of National Science Foundation. Their mission is to “inspire, mentor, train, and empower current and future generations of students, with a focus on underrepresented groups.”
STEM Pathways will cover the costs for five high school students from underrepresented groups to participate in BioBuilder’s High School Apprenticeship Challenge program in the spring and summer of 2023. The program provides students with an exceptional opportunity to learn synthetic biology, laboratory skills such as PCR and protein purification, as well as professional development skills. The sponsorship includes their summer internship salaries at biotech and pharma companies in the greater Boston area.
Eligible students can apply here. To be eligible, students must be:
If you work at a biotech or pharma company in the greater Boston area and are interested in potentially hosting one of these students for six or more weeks this summer, reach out to STEM Pathways or BioBuilder.