Rachael Smyers was part of the 2019 BioBuilder High School Apprenticeship Challenge that was held at LabCentral. The program’s “learning by doing” approach attracted her to it, especially since she got what she felt was a late start in the Vocational Technical Program at Medford High School. Starting there in her junior year, she spent mornings taking 3 or 4 traditional high school classes (English, History…) and the afternoons in Biotech Shop, learning lab skills like pipetting, prepping buffers, running gels, and culturing mouse cells.
In this interview Rachael talks about how the BioBuilder Apprenticeship program let her connect with students she would not have otherwise met, helped her practice technical skills, and taught her more about the science behind laboratory techniques. The program let her, “see the science world outside of the classroom while still inside the classroom.” The Apprenticeship program led directly to a summer internship with one of BioBuilder’s industry partners, Indigo Ag, and thanks to a successful summer there, Rachael continued as year ’round employee, working on agricultural biotechnology through her two years at Bunker Hill Community College and her Junior year at University of Massachusetts – Lowell.