Biotechnology Conference Drives Partnerships

BABEC anual meeting viewOn Saturday, September 28, Skyline College Biomanufacturing partnered with the Bay Area Biotechnology Education Community (BABEC a non profit) to host the BABEC fall Conference 2019. Over 100 high school and community college bioscience educators and stakeholders from across the Bay Area and other parts of California attended the conference. The Biomanufacturing program, Science Math and Technology division as well as Strategic Partnerships and Workforce Development division partnered with BABEC to host the conference. The event was made possible by sponsorships and grants provided by the California Community Colleges, Biorad and Genentech. Attending and tabling were students representing the Skyline Biomanufacturing cub, the West Coast Student Chapter PDA, the Biolink Depot, BioSCOPE and Carlmont HS biomanufacturing group.

Dr. Jennifer Taylor-Mendoza, Vice President of Instruction, welcomed the conference attendees to Skyline College and our new building. The BABEC team featured their updated bioscience curriculum and introduced their new initiatives for the 2019-20 school year, which includes a collaboration with Genentech, and an expansion project funded by the National Science Foundation. The Regional K12 Strong Workforce Program (K12 SWP) team provided an introduction to the initiative and K12 SWP grantees shared how they plan to use the funding to develop talent for a stronger biotech workforce in the Bay Area.

In the BABEC tradition of creating a community for Bay Area bioscience educators, attendees were able to break out into regional groups to design collaborative pathways to biotech careers. With a strong mix of professionals representing colleges, high schools, administration, industry and nonprofits, the regional breakout groups formed cross-functional teams that focused on taking a diversified approach to building successful bioscience programs in California.

As a result of their community work, attendees agreed that exposure to life science or STEM careers should start at an early age. Consequently, educators need access to updated innovative curriculum and support in introducing students to biotech careers. The annual kick off meeting by BABEC provides this support. The Bioscience educators were given a special presentation on how to easily align biotech lessons with NGSS by Kirk Brown, author of the text book “Biotechnology: A laboratory Skills Course” and Director of STEM Programs at San Joaquin County Office of Education. BABEC staff demonstrated their up to date curriculum and classroom support that is available to all local Bay area high schools. BABEC collaborates with community colleges like Skyline College and Laney College in order to provide materials to the high school in our initiative called BioSCOPE. BABEC looks forward to convening the bioscience community again to continue strategizing on how to support science teachers and inspire students for science careers.

The Skyline Biotechnology Manufacturing program will continue their work with our community college, high school and baccalaureate partners in order to form a strong connection for students to matriculate from the HS to CC and onto to Bachelors in Biomanufacturing programs. We plant to help this connection by forming partnerships with local industry like Genenetech, non profits like BABEC, Governmental bodies like SSF, High schools as well as Bachelors programs. The BioScope project (for which we just submitted an NSF grant proposal) allows the community college manufacturing programs to product “biotechnology” laboratory materials that are used in high schools. We hope to show high school students that our programs have relevant work experience that will allow them to compete for jobs, while they are in school.

Check out our social media (Instagram and Facebook) to see what Skyline Biotechnology Manufacturing is doing. For June 2020 we hope to partner with Madison Area Technical College, Solano Community College (NIIMBL and NSF) to convene a workforce summit for advanced manufacturing of cell and tissue based pharmaceuticals.

Article and Photo by Nick Kapp

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