From BTCI to Africa and Back Again: One Student’s Journey in Science Education

Today’s blog is brought to us by and alumus of Dane County Youth Apprenticeship Program, Aidan Holmes.

In this blog I have the opportunity to write about how my experiences at the BTC Institute as a high school student were instrumental in leading me to my passion for science education, my Peace Corps experience, and my current role as a biotechnology instructor for the very same institute.

I became familiar with the BTC Institute as a student at Marshall High School when our biology teacher organized a biotechnology field trip for us. I loved learning about DNA and biotechnology since 7th grade so attending a field trip like this was an incredible opportunity to engage in hands-on biotechnology. When I learned about the Youth Apprenticeship Program in Biotechnology I knew I had to apply and enrolled during my senior year of high school. Through the program I took a weekly class at the BTC Institute and I worked as a student researcher in a biochemistry lab at UW-Madison. I enrolled for classes at UW-Madison the following year and pursued an undergraduate degree in genetics and a certificate in education and educational services. Continue reading “From BTCI to Africa and Back Again: One Student’s Journey in Science Education”

Biotechnology Youth Apprentice Madhu Gowda Wins GRAND PRIZE at the Capital Science and Engineering Fair

Madhu presents her work.
Madhu presents her work.

Imagine the pleasure Barbara Bielec, the BTC Institute’s K-12 Program Director and co-coordinator of the Dane County Youth Apprenticeship Program in Biotechnology (YAP-Biotechnology), felt when reading this recent message from Sharon Tang, one of our apprentice’s mentors:

“I am unbelievably proud to let you know that Madhu won not only first place for the biological science projects, but also the GRAND PRIZE at the Capital Science and Engineering Fair this weekend! She was at the fair from 7:30am until 4:30pm presenting her work done in our lab and did a fantastic, eloquent job speaking about her project. This was such an impressive honor – she won among over 20 competing students in the region, earned a cash award, and will be competing as a finalist at the Intel international science fair in May. I’m sure she’ll tell you, but I am just over the moon and wanted to share the news as well. Attaching a photo I took of her in action.”

A second year student in the program, Madhu is a senior at Middleton High School. Since November, 2015, she has been working in the lab of Dr. Susan Thibeault in the Department of Surgery, Division of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Continue reading “Biotechnology Youth Apprentice Madhu Gowda Wins GRAND PRIZE at the Capital Science and Engineering Fair”

Support Young Scientists: Mentors Needed for Dane County Biotechnology Youth Apprentices

I moved back to Madison from the east coast last September and I have to say it’s been really great being back in the Midwest… the Youth Apprenticeship Program opened doors to opportunities for me that may never have existed if I had not participated in the program. It established the foundation of my entire resume throughout college, which was crucial to the genetic counseling application process. — Kristin Gunderson, Genetic Counselor, Carbone Cancer Center (Kristin worked in the lab of Dr. Deane Mosher, UW School of Medicine Public Health, under the mentorship of Dr. Bianca Tomasini-Johannson and is a 2006 high school graduate.)

Yang Chen, 2015 graduate, at her worksite in the lab of Dr. Xuehua Zhong, UW-Madison Department of Genetics; mentor: Dean Sanders. Yang is currently a freshman at UW-Madison, majoring in microbiology.
Yang Chen, 2015 graduate, at her worksite in the lab of Dr. Xuehua Zhong, UW-Madison Department of Genetics; mentor: Dean Sanders. Yang is currently a freshman at UW-Madison, majoring in microbiology.

OK, we are not going to be shy about it: We need any assistance our readers may be able to provide to help us find additional mentors for high school juniors and seniors who are enrolled in the Dane County Youth Apprenticeship Program in Biotechnology.

The good news is that there are 32 students who have elected to participate in the program, given their strong interests in the life sciences and in particular, biotechnology. They represent 14 public high schools in the area. They (1) complete all necessary classes for graduation; (2) attend a hour-hour intensive laboratory course at the BTC Institute from 4:30–8:30pm on Wednesdays; and, (3) work in laboratory settings throughout the community.  (For details, please visit: http://www.btci.org/k12/yap/yap.html) Continue reading “Support Young Scientists: Mentors Needed for Dane County Biotechnology Youth Apprentices”