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.
Ask Anna Pascucci about her experience becoming involved with the Amgen Biotech Experience (ABE) program and her responses are poetic, romantic even:
“Life is made by sequences of things that happen which rarely remain in our memories...and then there are events…the events have the potential to expand time and space and represent the starting of a venturing phase. This was for me to meet Tara Bennett Bristow and Alia Qatarneh, ABE staff at Harvard University.”
In this video, High school students and educators from Lycée de la Vallée de Chevreuse in France share their perspectives on the Amgen Biotech Experience (ABE). Created by the Amgen Foundation, ABE is an innovative science education program that provides students with hands-on lab curriculum and teachers with the necessary tools to teach biotechnology in their classrooms.
In the last month, Maia Binding and her team have worked with some 30 teachers across the San Francisco Bay area to arm them with new tools and knowledge to share with their students this fall. The teachers come from schools in a variety of districts with varying demographics – many of which serve lower income populations. At these schools, students of all backgrounds have the opportunity for hands-on biotech, thanks to the Amgen Biotech Experience (ABE).
The core of the Amgen Biotech Experience (ABE) is a unique partnership between scientists and teachers. Amgen scientists contribute their expertise in cutting-edge research and desire to empower students in STEM, while teachers contribute their expertise in how to interest and motivate students and their desire to connect STEM to the real-world.
School is out for summer – or almost – for most high school students globally. But for some teachers, the learning is going to continue. Around the world, Amgen Biotech Experience (ABE) sites are gearing up for their professional development institutes, or PDIs. These multi-day workshops train high school teachers in the ABE curriculum, directly giving them experience with the hands-on biotech labs they’ll run in their classrooms when school resumes in the fall.
In Hong Kong and much of the broader East Asia area, the educational system is highly focused on exams. Teachers have their hands full just trying to prepare their students for the intense testing that occurs. Lab time is often reserved only for after school extracurricular activities. But some teachers are still pushing themselves and their students even further, bringing real-world biotech into their labs.