For ten years, the BTC Institute has been partnering with an innovative center at Hannam University in Daejeon, Korea: Promega-Hannam – BTCI (PH-BTCI; website (in Korean). Our K-12 programs have served as models for activities that are developed to fit the Korean educational system, which does not typically include off-site field trips, for example, during the regular school day.
There is an interesting historical link between Promega Corporation and Hannam University that facilitated this international collaboration. William A. Linton, a Presbyterian missionary in Korea founded Hannam University in 1956. Bill Linton (President & CEO of Promega Corporation and President of the BTC Institute’s Board of Directors) is one of his grandchildren. He attended the 10th Anniversary Celebration of PH-BTCI on June 2, 2015 and provided the keynote address at the Hannam Bio-Symposia held that day. Promega has consistently donated lab supplies to PH-BTCI over the years.
Under the direction of Dr. JinA Lim, current activities include offering a biotechnology class on Saturday for elementary, middle and high school students during the school year; a mobile lab that serves schools in the Daejeon area; and, a program related to the nature of scientific investigation to be offered during summer vacation in partnership with the Korea Basic Science Institute.
I have been fortunate to visit Hannam University four times, most recently in November, 2014. With Dr. Lim and our long-time collaborator Dr. Insoo Lee (Professor), I met with key university decision-makers, including Drs. Hyungtae Kim (President), Seung Ho Lee (Dean, Office of Global Relations), and In-Ha Sung (Director, Industry-Academia Cooperation Foundation). All of these leaders indicated strong support for our partnership and for further exploration of ways to grow it, as well as for the continued development of programs offered by PH-BTCI.
This summer, two Hannam University seniors, SangEun Kim and Min-Kyung Song, visited us for 10 days from July 8-18, attending our Core Techniques in Protein and Genetic Engineering course, also joining a middle school group’s field trip, touring the Promega campus and the Madison area. We are looking forward to welcoming two more students for an internship experience in January, 2016, as well as to the continued collaboration with out Korean colleagues.
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