Shoreline’s Biotech Program Gives 25 Rural High School Students Glimpse at Careers in STEM

Students from Glide High School in Glide, Ore. learn bioinformatics at Shoreline's Biotech lab.

Students from Glide High School in Glide, Ore. learn bioinformatics at Shoreline’s Biotech lab.

For the third year in a row, Shoreline’s biotech program hosted students from Oregon.

This past Friday, March 6, 25 students from  Glide High School in the rural town of Glide, Ore., came to participate in Amgen Biotechnology Experience labs funded by the Amgen Foundation.

The upper-level high-schoolers spent the day in Shoreline’s Biotech lab where Amgen outreach coordinator Adrienne Houck led the class in separating candy dye molecules using an electrophoresis box, an introduction to bioinformatics and genetically modifying bacteria with jellyfish DNA to make them glow under ultraviolet light.

During their three-day visit to the Seattle area, the class also spent time at the Seattle Science Foundation and the Seattle BioMed facilities.

In past years, enrollment in the trip has been capped at 20, but due to increased student interest the high school decided to accommodate 25 participants this time around.

To Houck, the program is an important one for students from rural areas such as Glide, which has a population of fewer than 2,000.

A Glide High School student learns about genetically modifying DNA in Shoreline's Biotech lab.

A Glide High School student learns about genetically modifying DNA in Shoreline’s Biotech lab.

“By exposing students from small towns to what is out there for them, they are more able to make future plans that include venturing out to bigger cities,” Houck said. “These STEM jobs most likely will not be available in Glide. Their high school teachers know that by demystifying the outside world through this trip, it allows students to see they can do it, too.”

Indeed they can. Among its current students in the Biotechnology Lab Specialist program, Shoreline counts a Glide High School alum who participated in this same visit a year ago.

Houck also believes that the trip to Shoreline helps the high-schoolers gain the confidence they need to attend college in general.

“Since Shoreline is a community college, it makes this venture less intimidating for rural students,” Houck said. “When they see that SCC can meet their future goals but allow them to grow as students, versus throwing them in a classroom with 300-plus students, these students from the rural areas know they have a place where they can be successful.”

1 Comment

  1. Judy Penn says:

    Congratulations to Adrienne on the success of this great program, and also to Guy Hamilton, Biology Professor/Chair/Biotech Program Director, and Susan Hoyne, Science Division Dean, for their vision and support of this program.