Mount Wachusett Community College’s biotechnology and access and transition programs were among the featured topics during the 10th annual Massachusetts STEM Summit. More than 1,000 people attended the Nov. 13 event at Gillette Stadium.
Throughout the day, panel presentations and the lunchtime plenary session addressed the goals, plans and progress of STEM education, bringing leaders and practitioners from the state’s education, business and government sectors together to share information and ideas. Sessions covered the entire education spectrum, workforce development, economic development, and other key policy issues faced by the Commonwealth. MWCC was invited to sit on two panels.
MWCC, WPI, Middlesex Community College and Boston University presented on the topic of “Training for Jobs in Life Sciences: What Happens After High School?”
MWCC Biotech/Biomanufacturing graduate Brenda Proctor and department chair Dr. Lara Dowland discussed the workforce development aspect of the MWCC program and its unique features. Proctor described how well prepared she was to enter the workforce and receive an excellent position at Cell Treat, located in Shirley. The skills, education, and hands-on preparation of the MWCC biotech program were covered during the panel discussion as well as during the question and answer period immediately following.
Patrice Lincoln, Dean of Access and Transition, joined staff members from Quinsigamond andBristol community colleges in the panel presentation “STEM Pathways from Secondary through Post-secondary Education.” The panel discussed pathways between secondary and post-secondary institutions for students interested in STEM fields.
Lincoln addressed the numerous initiatives offered through the division of Access and Transition in collaboration with Academic Affairs at MWCC that can lead to post-secondary interest in STEM-related degree or certificate tracks. With 18 different programs servicing nearly 4,000 students annually, the division is able to leverage many of the current programming to create STEM interest.
These programs include the federally funded Upward Bound Math and Science grant and the Math and Engineering Program. In these programs, students are exposed to STEM-related fields on an on-going basis. The division also offers numerous dual enrollment opportunities for students to get a jump start on college level classes while in high school, or for those who are not college-ready, the division’s summer bridge program allows graduated high school seniors to take developmental courses prior to entering college in the fall.
Lincoln also provided an overview of one of MWCC’s dual enrollment initiatives, which offers a partnering voc-tech school an opportunity to have its students earn seven credits from MWCC’s biotechnology degree program while still in high school. Upon successful completion of the classes, the students can automatically transfer those credits into our biotech degree program.