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Florissant Valley Hosted Summer Biotechnology Camp

August 10, 2009

Biotech camp  
Students examine hair samples collected during the
mock crime scene 

The Center for Plant and Life Sciences division at St. Louis Community College hosted local middle and high school students for a summer biotechnology boot camp. The camp is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation and is free to students.

High school students attended the camp from July 20 through July 23 while middle school students attended camp from July 27 through July 30. Each group consisted of 15 students who spent four days on the Florissant Valley campus. Students explored several aspects of biotechnology, one of the most fascinating and rapidly growing fields in biology. They learned about the basics of biotechnology through lectures and hands on laboratory experiments.

Day one served as an introduction to biotechnology basics and what scientists do in the lab. On day two, students learned about pharmaceutical biotechnology. Day three featured a lesson on plant science and renewable fuels. Students were taken on a field trip to the Corn to Ethanol center at SIUE. On the final day, students studied forensics and investigated a mock crime scene to solve a murder.

Biotech campJennifer Sowash, business specialist and Kasey Sindal, education specialists for the Plant and Life Sciences Center developed and taught the curriculum along with Becky Steark from the biotechnology department.
"The camp was an excellent opportunity for middle and high school students to gain a broader knowledge of the career choices and educational opportunities available in biotechnology," said Sowash. "Our ultimate goal is to expose students to science, get them excited about it and let them know that they can have a career in the biotechnology field."

The National Science Foundation grant was spearheaded by Sarah Perkins, former vice president for academic affairs. Ashok Agrawal, dean of the math, science, engineering and technology division, has since taken over the lead role. The grant will cover two more years of the camp.

For more information or to find out how to enroll your middle or high school aged child in the 2010 camp, please contact Kasey Sindel at 314-513-4511.