Building Connections to Meet Biotechnology Industry Demands

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This three-year project from Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) will provide a Science Academy opportunity, allowing for high-school students to interact directly with biotechnology industry professionals through classroom visits, career fairs, and on-site tours, thus exposing students to the many career options available within the field. This method is especially effective for reaching populations who have been underrepresented in their pursuit of careers in biotechnology. Additionally, a Summer Workshop will be developed to educate high-school teachers on the use of biotechnology methods and bioinformatics in the classroom. The workshop will also provide opportunities for teachers to learn about the biotechnology industry through on-site tours and talks with industry professionals. Alongside high school outreach activities, a Business and Industry Leadership Team will be established to evaluate and modify DMACC's biotechnology curriculum. This team will ensure that students completing the AS/Biotechnology Laboratory Methods Certificate receive high-quality, hands-on technical training that is directly applicable to entry level careers in biotechnology, and that students develop an educational foundation to support future growth in their roles within the biotechnology industry. As part of the DMACC Biotechnology Program curriculum updates, an introductory scientific computing course will be developed and equipment will be updated to align with industry standards. Integrating industry partners, secondary and post secondary educators, and biotechnical professionals to learn and participate in growing programs such as this through academies, workshops, and conferences is designed to advance the STEM workforce and increase equity in opportunities in the field.

Project PI: 
Julie Gonzalez
Other Collaborators: 
  • Lauren Kinkead (Co-Principal Investigator)
  • Andrew Guinness (Co-Principal Investigator)
Grant number: DUE 2300876
Project Contact Info: 
Des Moines Area Community College Ankeny IA