On June 19–23, CONNECT2Careers (C2C) kicked off its STEAM programming for the summer with the Life Sciences Summer Institute (LSSI) Boot Camp. Forty students participated in the week-long immersive training where they learned fundamental biotech lab skills, such as pipetting, and applied them in real-world research exercises, including gel electrophoresis, polymerase chain reactions, protein modeling and much more. Participants also completed a work readiness workshop on soft skills and professional communication. Offered as an intensive lab at Grossmont and Miramar Colleges, participants received transferable college credits for graduating from the Boot Camp.
After completing their training, students began their paid internships with some of San Diego’s world-renowned research institutes and life sciences companies. Students work alongside professional scientists on cutting-edge research ranging from cancer cell identification to biofuel production. This year’s employers include The Scripps Research Institute, the Salk Institute, UC San Diego, UCSD’s Research Scholars Program, Grossmont-Cuyamaca College, BioLabs, Lab Fellows and Scripps Institute of Oceanography.
C2C’s STEAM teacher training program, the Amgen Biotech Experience, starts on July 11. Sixteen science teachers from high schools across San Diego County will participate in the program, which consists of lab training, industry tours, and professional guest speakers, all with the goal of helping teachers modify their curricula to incorporate training and information that students will need to obtain entry-level employment in the life sciences field.
In other exciting program news, the San Diego Foundation awarded C2C STEAM $75,000 to continue to expand LSSI’s recruitment efforts in San Diego’s low and moderate income communities. With this funding, the C2C STEAM team will place 20 additional students from Kearny High School in paid internships in the STEM field. To support these students in their employment, C2C will provide them with bus passes, financial literacy training, and help them set up an account at a local credit union. They will also develop a six-year career development plan, complete with a career assessment and strategy for applying and paying for a post-secondary education.
On June 11, LSSI was recognized at the International BioGENEius Challenge for the organization’s success in preparing the region’s future STEM workforce. The awards ceremony was part of the BIO International Convention held at the San Diego Convention Center this year. SDWP CEO Peter Callstrom accepted the award on behalf of the program.
LSSI is still seeking employers to hire student interns for this summer. Wage subsidies are available to companies and labs interested in mentoring future scientists. To learn more, please contact Alex Becker, STEAM Manager, at AlexanderB@workforce.org.