The Herald-Times

Summer workshop at Ivy Tech gives high school students a taste of bioscience careers

By April Toler 331-4353 |
July 14, 2012

Walking around a lab in Ivy Tech’s Indiana Center for the Life Sciences, 15-year-old Rachael Mosley feels right at home.

In fact, there aren’t many other places the Bloomington High School North student, who’s taking part in the college’s Biotech Summer High School Workshop, would rather spend her summer.

“I really like being in the lab,” said Mosley. “That’s my favorite part.”

Mosley is one of 15 students taking part in this year’s workshop, which, according to Sengyong Lee, professor and program chair of Ivy Tech’s biotechnology program, was developed to increase students’ awareness of bioscience-related careers and to help recruit “well-educated/trained” employees for such jobs.

Because the program is funded through a grant, it is free to students who through completion of the program can also earn three college credits at the college.

“Ivy Tech Bloomington’s biotechnology program has been supplying well-educated workforces to our local bioscience companies, however, we wanted to recruit more high school students to our workforce development pipeline,” Lee said in an email. “Many high school students want to become doctors and nurses but they don’t know much about so many bioscience career options that can make similar positive impact on our society.”

Throughout the students’ nine days in the program, they not only learn about the bioscience industry and career options, but receive hands-on lab experience.

This week, the group was extracting DNA through food items to see if the food had been genetically modified.

“They receive not only experience but an understanding of what biotechnology is and an understanding of what lab work is involved,” said Sarah Cote, professor at Ivy Tech.

Although some students may prefer spending their summer sitting poolside, for Makayla Culbertson, 15, there is nothing better than suiting up in a white lab coat, safety glasses and blue latex gloves and conducting research alongside her fellow, future scientist.

“I’ve always enjoyed science so I don’t mind spending my time in a lab,” she said.

As for the program, Culbertson said it’s a great way to not only study a subject she loves, but to also gain experience that might help her down the road.

“It’s really interesting to learn all this stuff and every bit of experience helps,” she said.

Left to right, Makayla Culbertson, Hannah Busey and Rachael Mosley remove corn meal from a water bath during a nine day biotechnology workshop at Ivy Tech Bloomington. Jeremy Hogan | Herald-Times

Copyright: 2012

About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.