Rosa Buxeda & Lorenzo Saliceti-Piazza

mexicorubberBiotechnology

Feb 20, 2013 (4 years and 5 months ago)

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A Biotechnology Summer Camp

for High School Students:

A Model
Strategy for

Economic
and Workforce Development

At

the Early Stage of Higher Education


Rosa Buxeda & Lorenzo Saliceti
-
Piazza

University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus

Industrial Biotechnology
Program

P.O. Box 9010

Mayagüez, Puerto Rico 00610
-
9010

(787) 832
-
4040 ext. 3040


Abstract


Recently,
invest
ment
s

in Puerto Rico
to establish b
iotechn
ology manufacturing sites
approach

$
3.000
million
.

This has driven

a reevaluation of
the

educational pipeli
ne to
nurtur
e the
workforce need
ed by the biotechnology sector
.
The Industrial Biotechnology Program
,

University of Puerto Rico
-
Mayagüez Campus
(UPR
-
M)
has worked in four key initiatives to
address this need.
The

first three
initiatives aim to
provid
e

(i)
a BS degree in Industrial
Biotechnology
,
(ii)
an Industrial Biotechnology Learning Center
to help senior professionals in a
transition from a pharmaceutical

to a biotechnology environment,
and
(iii)
a Biotechnology
Center for Research and Training in Biopr
ocesses
to foster corporate
-
sponsored research.
Our
fourth initiative
was to

establish

a nationwide pioneer
ing

program:

the Biotechnology Summer
Camp
.
The goal is “to motivate high school students in the importance and applications of
biotechnology and its

role in driving a knowledge
-
based economy.”
This
will promote

high
school students to learn about biotechnology as a career path.


A total of 378 applications were received from 482 schools, of which 60 students were selected.
C
riteria were based on grad
es, letters of recommendation from science teachers, and quality of
essays stating the
ir

motivation in applying to the Summer Camp.


Parallel to the application
process, a group of graduate students and upper level undergraduate students from UPR
-
M was
cho
sen and trained to serve as mentors of the 60 participating students


The
S
ummer
C
amp involved workshops in the areas of molecular biology, bioinformatics,
bioprocesses, microbiology, electron microscopy
,

as well as biotech applications

in the fields of
en
vironmental and

marine

sciences
. The activities were designed in collaboration with our
industrial stakeholders and included field trips
and

exposure to biotech
nology

career paths.
Felder & Solomon’s learning styles model was used to assess the learning pr
eferences of the
student
s
.

Teamwork was emphasized in every activity.
Assessment of the impact of the
S
ummer
C
amp included th
e prepara
tion of posters, a reflective
diary

as well as a pre
-

and post
-
tests,
overall questionnaire and mentor evaluation.

R
esults

show that the Biotechnology Summer
Camp fully achieved its goals.

This paper will fully address the design of this initiative as well as
the assessment strategies to determine impact on participants.