This fall, Grant Career Center branched off campus with a new Biotechnology program at Bethel-Tate High School. This career training program is a partnership of the two schools allowing students to receive the benefits of career and technical training without leaving their high school campus.
The new program focuses on the different aspects of the rapidly emerging and developing science of Biotechnology. Students focus on modern field usage of biotechnology as used in pharmaceutical companies, medical laboratories, environmental science, and agricultural applications. The program runs daily for three class periods and allows the students to delve into complicated labs and procedures.
The Biotechnology program is taught by Kristine Brookover, a veteran science instructor who has spent the last year exploring biotechnology careers and industry standards. Mrs. Brookover has researched equipment and techniques that are essential to success in the biotechnology industry. She has also spent countless hours in professional development and training to bring to her students the best possible instruction relevant to their career choices.
The program currently has 16 junior and senior Bethel-Tate students enrolled who are looking at careers as diverse as chemist, geneticist, pediatrician, chemical engineer, biochemist, pharmaceutical technician, forensic scientist, and agribusiness specialist. Junior Morgan Walters said, “The number of fields you are prepared for from Biotechnology is unbelievable!”
The students have started the year learning safety procedures and the very basic lab skills. Junior Emilie Shouse said, “I have really found out what biotechnology is all about.” Students will be exploring microbiology, anatomy and physiology, genetics, chemistry, forensics, environmental science, bioethics, molecular biology and bioinformatics throughout the school year.
Mrs. Brookover said the Biotechnology program is off to a great start, and it is a learning experience for all of them. “We are in the introductory phase right now and each month will bring a different layer of skills as we work up to DNA analysis and testing.”
The class is a mixture of lab activities and precise reporting of the results in their lab notebook. Senior Kennadie Cox says, “I love this class! I love how you are up and moving, mixing chemicals and solutions. It is really neat to see the end result of our work. I like how we are independent and do much of the work by ourselves.”
The Biotechnology students have completed labs in cheese making, finding molarity, solution preparation and the correct procedures of using micropipettes and the spectrophotometer. They will also be using their skills with the spectrophotometer to train the chemistry students in its use.
According to Mrs. Brookover, the class will be moving into the microbiology unit next week and the students’ skill set will continue to grow with the addition of media preparation, sample collection, bacteria identification and many more labs. Senior Lauren Jandes summed up her experience thus far, “If you like completing labs and being active, this is the perfect class for you!”