Advancing Next Generation Bio-Technician Preparedness in Northeast Florida

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This ATE Track 2 project aims to serve national interest by improving curricula and educational materials in biotechnician education in the Northeast Florida region. Biotechnology is currently undergoing a global evolution as evidenced by new innovations, developments, and breakthroughs. The most notable areas propelling biotechnology innovation involve computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data, synthetic biology, mixed reality technologies, and others. One of the key challenges in this sector is developing a workforce that possesses the knowledge, skills, and competencies needed for these emerging areas. To prepare students with the skills they will need to enter the workforce successfully, this project plans to integrate instruction on these emerging technologies into an existing Biotechnology program. This multipronged program improvement effort has the potential to better prepare students and regional technicians to enter the rapidly advancing biotechnology field.

The project goals are to: 1) update courses in the current Biotechnology Laboratory Technology Associate in Science degree program to include a modified externship course; 2) acquire advanced instruments for students to develop skills using research-grade instruments; and 3) implement hands-on, biotechnology mobile mini-labs that engage K-12 students and teachers in current and applied STEM curricula. A comprehensive evaluation effort seeks to provide data for ongoing project improvement as well as to contribute knowledge regarding training practices in new and emerging technical fields. Additionally, project findings aim to advance STEM education knowledge about how active and inquiry-equipment based learning within a biotechnology program improves students' readiness for the biotechnology workforce. Results and products of the project are expected to be disseminated to other two-year college technical programs interested in improving curriculum to meet regional or national needs for skilled biotechnicians.

Project PI: 
Kasyapa Chitta (Principal Investigator)
Other Collaborators: 
Dianne Fair (Co-Principal Investigator) Pius Kyesmu (Co-Principal Investigator)
Grant number: 2400860
Project Contact Info: 
Jacksonville FL