Monthly Archives: September 2016

Celebrating 20 years of the Bay Area Biotechnology Coalition

The Bay Area Biotechnology Coalition (BABEC) recently celebrated their 20th year in existence with some cake and an exceptional set of speakers.

Since 1996, BABEC has been developing strong collaborations with teachers, providing a relevant curriculum and technical support, producing cost effective access to educational biotechnology supplies and equipment, and cultivating a strong regional network of educators and community partners.

BABEC’s mission is to partner with teachers, scientists, industry, and academia to develop, disseminate, implement, and sustain a contemporary, laboratory-based biotechnology curriculum that advances the professional skills of teachers while increasing student access and equity in science education.

BABEC’s goal is to prepare a local workforce for the burgeoning biotechnology industry, and to increase scientific literacy in the high schools, by teaching science in a more direct and hands-on way. Currently, BABEC incorporates the vision of their founding science teachers (a group of San Mateo teachers and retired biotech community members) into everything they do.

The daylong event is meant to foster collaboration between partners and to get everyone excited about the coming school year.  The main theme of the talks was, science education and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Bruce Alberts and Nick KappThe first speaker Dr. Bruce Alberts is the Chancellor’s Leadership Chair in Biochemistry & Biophysics for Science & Education at UCSF.  He has served as the President of the National Academy of Sciences, and was awarded the National Medal of Science by President Barack Obama in 2014. He was instrumental in developing the landmark National Science Education standards, and is nationally recognized for his strong commitment to the improvement of STEM education. Just this past weekend he was also just awarded the Lasker-Koshland award for a lifetime of research and science advocacy.   Dr. Alberts gave the audience his unique insight into the National Science Education standards and their problems and successes.  He was also looking for science teachers that could help him with a classroom research project.  Dr. Alberts also signed many copies of the classic textbook “The Molecular Biology of the Cell” he authored that attendees brought with them to the talk.

Dr. Jason Peters is a scientist at UCSF, where he uses CRISPR-based technologies in his search for new antibiotic therapies. He earned BS degrees in Biology and Secondary Education and a PhD in Genetics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was awarded the Nat Sternberg Award for the most outstanding PhD thesis in bacterial molecular biology. He recently developed a new CRISPR educational curriculum for SFSU that he wants to share with high school scientists.

Jim Clark is Science Coordinator at San Lorenzo Unified School District, where he is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards. He was a science teacher at Arroyo High School for 32 years, and was awarded Teacher of the Year in 2008 for Alameda County.  Jim serves on the reading committee for the NGSS Framework in California, and is advising BABEC as they update their curricula to the NGSS framework.  Many of our high school partners are implementing the Next Generation Science Standards in their classrooms as well as with the BABEC labs.  Jim is one of the many resources throughout the state that are designed to support and help in implementing NGSS.

SE3D is a local education company that has developed a portable 3D BioPrinter, as well as robots to serve in the classroom laboratory.  They provide ready-to-use bioreagent kits designed for both science classroom and laboratory needs.  They are one of many industry partners that also help high school and community college faculty bring cutting edge science into the classroom.

The Conference was held in building 6.  The group of over 70 Bay Area high school and community college teachers celebrated the 20th anniversary of BABEC by eating some cake and telling stories of how BABEC came to be.   Lane Conn from Affymetrix talked about how BABEC began with $3000 in seed monies that was donated by a local biotechnology company.  He inspired others in the room to find more funding for their programs by asking local companies.

BABEC and Skyline College Biotechnology continue to influence our high school partners by offering several seminars throughout the year, including the  “Introduction to Teaching Biotech” seminar, which will occur Oct 7th, Oct 8th and Oct 22nd .   These hands-on training sessions will include topics on how to introduce DNA transformation, basic laboratory skills, electrophoresis, DNA forensics, genetic engineering, troubleshooting and planning as well as student-driven investigations using biotechnology, into the classroom.

Happy 20th anniversary BABEC and may you have many more reasons to celebrate in the next 20 years.

Article and photos by Nick Kapp, PhD

Attend the Action Summit at the BAEC!

The Bay Area Entrepreneur Center (BAEC) Action Summit will be held on Thursday October 27, from Action Summit at the BAEC5:30 PM – 8:30 PM at the BAEC.  The BAEC will be hosting this exciting event featuring many successful entrepreneurs in the Bay Area. Skyline College students, faculty, staff and the campus community are welcome to experience all that the BAEC has to offer the business community as well as network with people from an array of different industries.

The event features a panel of guest speakers who will share their resources and motivational stories.  Sponsored giveaways are available and refreshments will be served. The BAEC is excited to highlight the array of services designed to help businesses and entrepreneurs across the region.

The BAEC is located at 458 San Mateo Avenue, San Bruno, CA.

Please RSVP if you plan to attend.

Article by Terri Wade & Pcyeta Stroud | Image by Isaac Reed

BAEC Kicks Off STEM Entrepreneur Accelerator Program with Base11

STEM accelerator programThe Bay Area Entrepreneur Center (BAEC) held its first Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Entrepreneur Accelerator class on Monday, September 19, 2016.  The class participants included Skyline College students and faculty and community members —eight participants in all.  All class lecture sessions are held at the BAEC and taught by Adjunct Faculty member Terri Wade.  All hands-on activities are conducted in the Fabrication Laboratory (Fab Lab) at the Skyline College campus and are led by Nick Langhoff and Marco Wehrfritz.

This program delves into the mechanics of entrepreneurship and teaches participants to develop soft skills and learn to create prototypes in the new, state-of-the-art Fab Lab. The course will culminate with a business pitch competition. This will allow students a unique opportunity to pitch their business ideas in front of investors.

This program is an industry collaboration between Skyline College and Base11. This program is open to all potential entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs who want to stand out as leaders in the STEM industry.


Article written by Pcyeta Stroud

MCSC Student Battles for Justice in Washington D.C.

A. Rodriguez visits Washington DCThis summer, Middle College at Skyline College (MCSC) student Alejandra Rodriguez was invited with students from around the world to attend the National Student Leadership Conference Law & Advocacy’s high school summer law program in Washington D.C.  The program goals are to introduce students to the qualities and skills needed for effective leadership, and to help students interested in law and advocacy to examine future career paths. Students use the courtroom as a classroom to assume the role of trial attorney and battle for justice. In addition, sightseeing and educational trips to the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Federal Courthouse, Smithsonian Institution, and Holocaust Memorial Museum gave the students the chance to explore the nation’s capital.

Alejandra and her fellow high school students in the program met with leading trial, jury, forensic, and legal experts from top law firms, the Department of Justice, and the U.S. Court system. Students gained an understanding of homicide law and practiced courtroom techniques such as researching evidence, following evidentiary procedure, preparing and cross-examining witnesses, and crafting and delivering opening and closing statements.  The students tried a mock case in a real U.S. Federal courtroom with their performance determining the fate of the accused.  Alejandra commented, “This experience confirmed why I want to be a civil justice lawyer.”

Article by K. Saccio-Kent & R. Jones     I       Photo by M. Center

Learning Communities 2nd Annual Launch Party

The 2nd annual Learning Community Launch Party took place on September 8, 2016. Students and faculty from Learning Communities attended with their cohort, and professors brought their students as a group. The campus community, including staff, faculty and students, enjoyed mingling with each other, listening to old school hip hop, visiting program and services tables, grabbing a set of Skyline College Learning Communities sunglasses, visiting the trail mix bar and showing off their creative side by contributing to the cloth mural at the center of the quad. The Launch Party included an “open mic”, giving program staff, students and faculty the opportunity to share information and welcome the groups of Learning Community students as they arrived at the event.

Learning Communities Launch Party

The Learning Community Launch Party was a great kick-off to the academic year. The fun and memorable event strengthened informal bonds between students and faculty, increased students’ sense of belonging within the larger framework of Skyline College Learning Communities, and increased school spirit and connections to the campus.

Expanding the Launch Party from Fall 2015, this year’s event included a Student Success & Diversity Forum which included a pizza lunch for students enrolled in Learning Community classes. This part of the event took place at the conclusion of the outdoor portion of the Launch Party festivities and provided a more intimate environment to discuss topics related to building community and diversity and to hear from a dynamic student panel about their experiences at Skyline College and their tips for success.

All Skyline College students are invited to learn more about how to join a Learning Community for the Spring 2017 semester. Those who missed the event can access more information via a flowchart of course sequences for each Learning Community on the Learning Communities website. More photos from the Launch Party and other Learning Community events can be viewed on Facebook or on the Skyline College Learning Communities Launch Party Flickr album.

Article by Marisa Thigpen and photos by Will Nacouzi

You Can Still Voice Your Opinion About Campus Safety

Skyline CollegeEarlier this year, the Board of Trustees asked the District to take a closer look at best practices in public safety with a goal of maintaining and enhancing safety on its campuses. Soon after, in March, the District formed a Public Safety Services Study Committee to conduct research and make recommendations. The committee has hosted Campus Safety Open Forums so that everyone on our campus has the opportunity to offer opinions and concerns about this vital area.

While the forums wrapped up yesterday, we still want to hear from you.

Please complete a confidential survey which can be found at

To learn more about this effort and for schedule updates, please visit the study website. These conversations also will continue through the use of #SMCCCD #Forums16.

Thank you in advance for your active participation.

Skyline College Ramps up Programs and Services in the New Fabrication Laboratory

students in fab labThis Fall 2016, Skyline College’s new Fabrication Laboratory has kicked into gear with new courses and programs utilizing the inspiring space for innovation made possible through Skyline College’s partnership with Base11. Twenty to seventy-five students access the Fab Lab daily for lecture and laboratory courses in Physics and Engineering including PHYS 106, PHYS 270, ENGR 100, ENGR 260, and ENGR 261. Students in the Engineering lab courses are gearing up for new design experiences now possible with the Fab Lab equipment. In ENGR 261 – Circuits Laboratory, students learn how to design a printed circuit board (PCB) and how to manufacture and assemble the PCB using the Fab Lab’s precision milling machine and electronics prototyping equipment. To further support engineering lab instruction, the Fab Lab now boasts a set of modern electronics test equipment in addition to a 60-user site license for SolidWorks 3D modeling software to design and manufacture products on the Fab Lab’s rapid prototyping equipment.

The Fab Lab is also hosting a new STEM Entrepreneur Accelerator Program that was launched by the Bay Area Entrepreneur Center (BAEC) of Skyline College in partnership with Base 11. Through the 10-week program, students will learn how develop a STEM business model, build their resume, and pitch their ideas to investors. The program includes a laboratory component in which students gain design experience in electronics, design with the laser cutter, and programming, all leading toward the development of a STEM oriented product or service. At the end of the program, students get the opportunity to pitch their company in front of investors and catalyze their STEM career. The program starts this coming Monday September 19, 2016 with lecture sessions held Mondays 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. and design sessions in the Fab Lab on Tuesdays 6:00 – 9:00 pm.

STEM Students and student clubs are also doing exciting work in the Fab Lab. The Engineering and Robotics Club (ERC) are holding their design sessions in the Fab Lab on Fridays from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. During their meetings, members of the ERC learn and develop skills in 3D modeling and 3D printing, electronics prototyping and PCB design, embedded systems programming, and robotics. Honors students in Physics and Engineering are utilizing the new Fab Lab tools to design, build, and research fascinating projects. Honors projects this semester include a Theremin electronic musical instrument, an AM radio receiver, analog audio amplifiers, and a Lorenz attractor analog computer for solving non-linear differential equations.

The Fab Lab is now holding open lab hours for students Mondays 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. and Tuesdays 9:00 a.m. – noon. To find out more about new courses, programs, and services available in the Fab Lab, please contact Engineering Professor Nick Langhoff at or Engineering Laboratory Technician Macro Wehrfritz at

Article by Nicholas Langhoff and Marco Wehrfritz | Photos by William Nacouzi

JOIN US: Base11 STEM Entrepreneur Accelerator Program @ the BAEC

stem innovator flyerThe Bay Area Entrepreneur Center (BAEC) is holding an exciting 10-week STEM Entrepreneur Accelerator Training Program!  All class sessions will be held at the BAEC in downtown San Bruno. Hands-on activities are conducted in the Fabrication Laboratory (Fab Lab) which is located on the Skyline College campus.  Class begins Monday, September 19, 2016. Time is running out!  Reserve your spot today!

This program delves into the mechanics of entrepreneurship and teaches participants to develop soft skills and learn to create prototypes in the new, state-of-the-art Fab Lab. The course will culminate with a business pitch competition. This will allow a unique opportunity for students to pitch their business ideas in front of investors.

This program is an industry collaboration between Skyline College and Base11. This program is open to all potential entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs who want to stand out as leaders in the STEM industry.

Click here to register.

Article by Terri Wade

Puente Welcomes Family and Friends at Annual Noche de Familia

Puente photo collageThe Puente Learning Community has grown to two cohorts for the first time since the inception of the program at Skyline College, and the families and friends of all 52 Puentistas were invited to its annual Noche de Familia.  This event is held in recognition of the vital role that families and friends play in our students’ success. It provides an opportunity for families to meet instructors, gain a better understanding of the learning community, College resources, program events and requirements, and it also provides a safe space for students to discuss their need for support.

The event, which provided support for Spanish-only speakers, began with a welcome from Dr. Luis Escobar, Dean of Counseling, and welcoming remarks from Mary Gutierrez, Dean of Language Arts.  An overview of the Puente Learning Community was then provided with emphasis on the three-part model, calendar of events, and success rates of past Puente students nation-wide.  Afterwards, families and friends learned of a few College resources available to students and/or community members that would aid in the academic success of our Puentistas.  A HUGE thanks to Raymon Gutierrez, Retention Specialist at The Learning Center, Chad Thompson, Interim Director of SparkPoint, and Jorge Murillo, Program Services Coordinator of EOPS/CARE/CalWORKs who presented the benefits of their respective programs to our Puente families.  The information provided was valuable to both our students and their family members who looked to gain more information at the end of the event.

Towards the end of the evening, families and students broke out into separate groups to brainstorm ideas that would ensure student success.  The students came up with a wish list of things they need from their families/friends in order to succeed in college, while the family members and friends came up with a separate list identifying what they could provide to support student success and growth.  When both groups shared their respective lists, they found that both groups identified similar things such as understanding, study time and a quiet space at home, food, and love.

Over 100 people were in attendance, and the success of the event could not have taken place without the support of the Counseling and Language Arts division deans, Learning Communities Coordinator, Marisa Thigpen, fellow Puente faculty who co-facilitated the event, Lucia Lachmayr, Alberto Santellan, Paula Silva, and Counseling Intern, Rocio Aguilar-Pedroza.  Thank you also to all Puente faculty members including Luciana Castro, Denise Hum, John Ulloa, and Mustafa Popal.

For more information regarding the Puente Learning Community, please contact your Puente Co-Coordinators, Melanie Espinueva+Aure,, or Lucia Lachmayr,

Article and Photos by Melanie Espinueva+Aure

Don’t Think Small. Think Global with the BAEC Entrepreneur Incubator Program 

Incubator program logoThe Bay Area Entrepreneur Center is launching its first intensive entrepreneur incubator program. We are excited to welcome guest instructor Leah Goold-Haws to our inaugural Business Incubator Program starting October 11, 2016.

This 10-week program is designed to provide focused training that assists entrepreneurs in identifying powerful and actionable ways to move their business forward.

Some topics to be covered include:

  • Go from idea to execution
  • Making prototypes and market testing
  • Learn adaptability
  • Marketing & brand building from scratch & brand expansion
  • Find finances and funding

Participants for the program should be active entrepreneurs with the desire and ability to grow an existing business.

Click here to register!

Article written by Terri Wade