Written by Scott Heimlich, Vice President, Amgen Foundation
Day 1 (March 4, 2019)
First off, a thank you to the Lemelson Foundation for inviting me to speak at their session tomorrow on A New Paradigm for Tomorrow’s Workforce. I look forward to joining my fellow panelists from Lemelson, the Digital Harbor Foundation, McKay High School, and MIT to discuss this important issue.
Becky Pferdehirt knew she wanted to be a scientist ever since her high school biology class. Seeing a DNA band move through agarose gel got her hooked on discovery, and she became driven toward a scientific career that she hoped would “leave the world better than I had found it,” she says.
“My teacher is amazing. This is my second year speaking English for the first time, and she has provided me with help to improve my English skills while learning biological concepts and lab skills. She promotes multiculturalism and diversity, and she deserves some recognition for her hard work.” -Student of Mary Jo Renear at East Longmeadow High School in Western Massachusetts
Héctor L Ayala-Del-Río recently received an unexpected thank you card: It was from a local high school science teacher, explaining that she was having a challenging time in her classroom, but how a recent event that Ayala-Del-Río and his team organized made all the difference. She had attended an Amgen Biotech Experience (ABE) teacher appreciation event at the Caguas Science Center, and the act of being recognized “made her feel that everything was worth it and that she should keep going,” says Ayala-Del-Río of the University of Puerto Rico-Humacao.
Science is a passion for Vivienne Watson that goes beyond her professional life as a Senior Scientist and Scientific Project Manager at Amgen. She is actively involved in outreach to students of all ages, including setting up a hands-on science night for her kids’ school when they were younger. “We really tapped into something, creating a strong community event that has continued past my involvement,” she says.
Senior Associate of Supplier Management in the Human Tissue category at Amgen
Amgen Biotech Experience Year: 2007
How the Amgen Biotech Experience (ABE) Shaped My Educational & Professional Path
Eleven years ago, Aby Rodriguez participated in a life-altering experience. A student at CROEM, a public boarding school in Puerto Rico that specializes in science and math, Rodriguez conducted biotech experiments for the first time through the Amgen Biotech Experience (ABE).
As a young child, James Bowden loved science – he enjoyed the Magic School Bus and visiting the California Science Center. But he always viewed science as something other people did. It was not until middle school that he would come to see his potential path as a scientist. In 7th grade, he traded Ms. Frizzle and her magic bus for Ms. Steinhauer and her Amgen Biotech Experience (ABE) labs at Portola Highly Gifted Middle School.
In an era of unprecedented innovation, the Amgen Biotech Experience (ABE) brings hands-on biotech curricula into classrooms worldwide at no cost. In this rigorous lab-based program, students will learn to create recombinant plasmids. By inserting new genes into bacterial DNA, they will recreate the process that Amgen uses to manufacture human insulin and other life-saving medications. ABE is currently offered in 20 regions across Asia Pacific, Europe, and North America.
The Amgen Biotech Experience and DNA Labs On the Road have partnered to bring students in the Netherlands a real-world biotechnology lab experience in the classroom, helping them better understand what science is and how it influences their daily lives.