Tissue Engineering Planetarium Show WhySci? Education Meets Industry Event
Program Designed to Fill Need for Biotechnology, Science Workforce Gathered Students, Industry Representatives at Duquesne University
High school and college students interested in careers in biotechnology and sciences looked into their futures, meeting with prospective employers.
A program called the 2+2+2 Biotechnology/Life Sciences Pipeline Initiative is designed to fill the gap of biotechnology and science employees in this region by encouraging students in the Pittsburgh Public Schools and McKeesport Area School District to make a career out of the life sciences, starting with the biotechnology program during junior and senior years in high school, continuing with life sciences during community college for 2 years, and spending an additional 2 years to finish 4-year degrees. Duquesne University, one of the partner schools in this program, hosted an "education meets industry" event for this initiative on its campus on Tuesday, Nov. 25.
"The idea is to get high school students into a pipeline so they're learning life sciences," said Dr. Alan W. Seadler, associate academic vice president for research at Duquesne, which has been a partner in the program for about 5 years. "The program was established by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development because there was great concern that a number of our bright high school students were not selecting science and math as careers."
The 2+2+2 program allows students to move smoothly between the various levels. "We wanted students to enter into a program that helps to streamline their path forward," Seadler explained. "They can look into the future and know exactly what courses they will be taking, what the schools have to offer, and what kinds of jobs are available for the successful graduate. It really is workforce development in a way that's taking kids through the technology sector and, hopefully, supplying them as a new part of the technology workforce in universities or industry."
Seadler spoke at the event, as well as Dr. David W. Seybert, Dean of the Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences at Duquesne, and Joan F. Schanck, Director of Education for the Pittsburgh Tissue Engineering Initiative, which oversees the program as well as participates as program partner with focus on both educational workforce connections related to regenerative medicine.
Industry representatives from MEDRAD, UPMC, Precision Therapeutics, and other companies, provided overviews of their respective industries and workforce needs. Program participants also shared success stories and met with students and teachers for networking.
Event Program Agenda