Colorado BioScience Association Announces 2009 Education Initiatives: Summer Externship Recipient, New Leadership Academy & BioNimbus Partnership

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The Colorado BioScience Association (CBSA) has embarked on an ambitious roster of education initiatives this year. The organization is again sponsoring a high school biology teacher in a paid externship program at a member bioscience company, participating in the new statewide Elementary Science Teacher Leadership Academy, and partnering with the BioNimbus organization to create a new database that better connect teachers, schools and companies.

The Colorado BioScience Association (CBSA) has embarked on an ambitious roster of education initiatives. The announcement is made by John Collar, CBSA President & CEO, who says the organization is again sponsoring a high school biology teacher in a paid externship program at a member bioscience company, participating in the new statewide Elementary Science Teacher Leadership Academy, and partnering with the BioNimbus organization to create a new database that better connect teachers, schools and companies.    

"We have heard from our bioscience company members that they want the CBSA to focus on promoting bioscience careers within local schools and we think our externship program, now in its second year, is an excellent method of doing so," Kevin Smith, Chair of the CBSA's Education and Workforce Committee, explains. "The CBSA is also engaging in new programs to cultivate a love for science in our students, and help teachers in this quest."

CBSA's Summer Externship Program

Tammy Heartly, a Fairview High School biology teacher, is the second teacher to take part in the CBSA's externship program and has spent part of her summer at OSI Pharmaceuticals in Boulder. Her experience at OSI includes investigating a preservative on a tissue sample to see if the preservative will keep the tissue's DNA intact and show whether the use of the preservative will allow the DNA to sequence correctly. For more information about OSI Pharmaceuticals, visit http://www.osip.com.

According to Hearlty, the externship experience has given her a better perspective on what companies are doing with science and biology, and this new perspective will no doubt help her engage and interest students in science in the future.

Elementary Science Teacher Leadership Academy

The Elementary Science Teacher Leadership Academy is a consortium of 15 districts statewide that have come together over the last two years to form an action plan addressing this crisis in Colorado. The Academy provides a forum for teachers, principals and districts to better learn how to teach inquiry based critical thinking and in turn impact their student's ability to be proficient in the sciences and math. In their efforts, it is imperative that these teachers, and their students, have an industry partner to bring hands-on knowledge to the classroom which is where the CBSA and its membership will come together and bring science education to the forefront. The official launch of the Elementary Science Teacher Leadership Academy will be in October, 2009.

"The CBSA is excited to be a part of this initiative," said April Giles, Vice President of Administration and Operations for the CBSA. "The Academy is an ideal forum to engage teachers on the importance of the bioscience industry and to then bring that excitement and opportunity to their students at an early age. The partnerships between industry and teachers, schools and their districts will provide additional hands-on resource for students to learn the real life implications of their lesson plans."

New Database Connecting Teachers, Schools & Companies

In order to assist science teachers within the classroom, the CBSA and BioNimbus, a bioscience consulting firm, are creating a database to connect teachers, schools and companies. This database will allow teachers and schools to place their 'wish list' of materials needed for the science classroom on the site and for companies to connect with those schools and teachers when they have the desired materials. For more information, visit http://www.bionimbus.com.

"Our schools are working on limited budgets as is, and with the quality control that the bioscience industry faces excess materials and equipment often go to waste," explains John Collar. "With this database program, the bioscience industry will be able to help restock the classroom with needed materials and enhance the science education being taught. We all loved the science experiments when we were in school, so hopefully this program will allow for more hands on science to be taught with fewer burdens on our school system."

Join the CBSA on August 11th at the Scientific Education & Research Institute (SERI) to learn more about these education initiatives and how you can become involved. For more information on this event, please visit https://events.cobioscience.com/index.cfm?action=event&eventid=247.

About the Colorado Bioscience Association

The CBSA is a not-for-profit corporation providing services and support for Colorado's growing biosciences industry. With more than 400 members, CBSA actively works to promote the growth of the industry by working for a better business environment, grow the state's biotech workforce, fight for policies that support a strong bioscience industry in the state and speak with a single voice on behalf of the industry. For more information, visit http://www.cobioscience.com.

Contacts:

Leah Kientz, Director of Public Policy and Programs, Colorado BioScience Association- http://www.cobioscience.com - 303-592-4088

Maggie Chamberlin Holben, APR, Absolutely PR - http://www.absolutelypr.com -
303-984-9801

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