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Norton Students Explore Biotech Futures

Hands-on event links students with biotech, life sciences, STEM careers.

On Jan. 11, over 240 Massachusetts high school students and teachers participated in Biotech Futures, including Norton’s own Marissa McCabe and Kaitlin Murrin.

Biotech Futures is a full-day career exploration event featuring scientist speakers, panel presentations, company presentations, science demonstrations and laboratory visits at Bridgewater State University. The event, organized by the Massachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation (MassBioEd) is part of an ongoing effort to increase interest in careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

Lance Hartford, executive director of MassBioEd, said Biotech Futures “will allow the students who participated to apply science and theory to the practical world while participating in university labs. It is this blend of academic and experiential learning that provides students with the opportunity to fully grasp the wonders of science and career possibilities.”

MassBioEd receives financial and programmatic support from the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MassBio) and its 600 member organizations.

Throughout the day, students participated in several hands-on labs showcasing topics and techniques including green chemistry, green fuels and biodiesel, building virtual experiments with LabView, strawberry DNA isolation, BSU CRIME (biological microscopy), fluorescence spectroscopy in sciences, making microalgae balls to investigate photosynthesis, and the human involuntary reflex response.

“We need to get young people excited about learning science and engineering, and about careers in these fields. Biotech Futures provides kids with hands-on opportunities to learn, and more importantly, to be inspired. The students make Biotech Futures a success with their enthusiasm, curiosity, and their amazing potential to learn," said David Mantus, Senior Vice President for Development and Regulatory Affairs with Seres Health, and the keynote speaker at Biotech Futures.

Other industry speakers included Mark Carlson of Organogenesis and Deborah Morosini of AstraZeneca.  

Biotech Futures is one of a series of biotechnology education and career exploration programs sponsored by MassBioEd. Other programs include an annual statewide Biotechnology Job Shadow Day, the BioTeach grant program and Learning Center courses for professional development in biotechnology. For more information visit http://www.massbioed.org.

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