This project plans to build a Biotechnology Unified Education Network of Opportunities (BUENO) in the Lower Rio Grande Valley that will offer a clear path for undergraduates into careers in biotechnology-based STEM fields. The project includes three major activities: 1) curriculum and educational materials development; 2) professional development for educators; and 3) program development and improvement. The main goal of the BUENO Project is to build the first biotechnology program in the region to enhance the employability of technicians in biotechnology-related fields. The BUENO Project has the potential to provide a framework that can be duplicated at other minority 2- year and 4-year community colleges and universities. Moreover, through the partnership between Texas Southmost College and local school districts, the Project can build sustained efforts to align college readiness and the college curriculum in biotechnological fields of study. This alignment can help to ensure preparation of employees to meet the community's workforce demands.
Through the BUENO Project, Texas Southmost College aims to increase student learning by developing a new biotechnology program of study, providing professional development for teacher improvement, and offering the most up-to-date curriculum and educational materials possible. Data collected as part of the evaluation plan will be critical for identifying strategies and activities that can be modified to improve project outcomes and student learning, as well as student and instructor competency and confidence, especially at a Hispanic-Serving Institution. Furthermore, the BUENO Project contribute new curricular materials that will be especially useful at minority institutions, as well as insight concerning which activities and interventions are most effective in promoting the success of Hispanics and veterans in biotechnology and related STEM fields. These contributions will add to the body of knowledge about effective science education.