Cutbacks in educational funding have led to limited resources for hands-on scientific experiences in many communities, and the National Academies' National Research Council has shown a significant connection between strong lab experiences and teachers' abilities to generate student interest in science. The Amgen Biotech Experience seeks to help make this connection in secondary school classrooms by introducing students to contemporary science techniques, including a robust, hands-on curriculum, research-grade equipment and comprehensive teacher training.
"By providing cutting-edge scientific experience today, students can begin to develop capabilities to make a powerful impact on society tomorrow," said Robert A. Bradway, chairman and chief executive officer of Amgen. "The Amgen Biotech Experience, designed in collaboration with educators and Amgen scientists, provides a rigorous real-world experience that helps open students' eyes to the world of biotechnology and scientific discovery."
In 2013, the Amgen Foundation will give more than $2.5 million in grants to community colleges, universities and nonprofit organizations that lead and support the Amgen Biotech Experience in different regions across the country where Amgen has a presence, including Southern and Northern California, Colorado, Washington, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Puerto Rico and the U.K. The program will also be introduced in Washington, D.C., in 2014.
Since 1990, the Amgen Biotech Experience has engaged more than 300,000 students in learning molecular biology using relevant curricula, tools and techniques. Teachers are given a hands-on, inquiry-based, biology curriculum, in addition to a full suite of transportable, research-grade equipment and supplies, at no cost to the participating schools. Utilizing Nobel Prize-winning discoveries to prepare a recombinant DNA molecule that carries a gene for red fluorescent protein, students follow many of the steps biotechnology researchers use to produce medicines.
"I have been using the Amgen Biotech Experience in my classroom since 2008, and it is inspiring to see how eager the students are to learn these lab techniques. Several students have even told me they want to pursue a major in biology after they finish the course," said Amy Welch, a biology teacher at Brea Olinda High School in Brea, Calif. "As a teacher, my knowledge of biotechnology lab techniques has increased immensely since I first implemented the program and I feel that I am providing my students with skills that make them strong scientific thinkers. Given its genuine impact, I am so thankful to the Amgen Foundation for making this program possible."
Beginning this year, EDC will apply its deep experience in designing and delivering high-quality science education programs to establishing a Program Office for the Amgen Biotech Experience. Working closely with existing sites, EDC will build on the assets of the program and implement strategies to enrich the program, including the introduction of a new strengthened curriculum for this school year.
"EDC has a 50-year history of sharing the excitement of science learning with teachers and students," said Luther Luedtke, president and chief executive officer of EDC. "We are pleased to work alongside the Amgen Foundation to continue to make science compelling in the classroom and to encourage students to take up science-related careers."
For more information, please visit www.amgenbiotechexperience.com.
The Amgen Foundation supports numerous national and international organizations that strive to strengthen STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education and inspire students to pursue careers in science. To date, the Amgen Foundation has committed more than $80 million in science education funding to nonprofit organizations throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and Europe.
About Amgen Foundation
The Amgen Foundation seeks to advance science education, improve patient access to quality care, and strengthen the communities where Amgen staff members live and work. To date, the Foundation has donated more than $200 million in grants to nonprofit organizations throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and Europe that impact society in inspiring and innovative ways, and those that provide disaster relief efforts both domestically and internationally.
Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC) is a global nonprofit organization with headquarters located outside Boston, Massachusetts. EDC's mission is to create learning opportunities for people around the world, empowering them to pursue healthier and more productive lives. EDC works with public-sector and private partners, harnessing the power of people and systems to improve education, health promotion and care, workforce preparation, communications technologies and civic engagement. EDC manages 250 projects in 30 countries.