Community, Business & Industry
Young Adults (20-25 years)
Since 2013, the mentor program has paired junior and senior level undergraduate students with professionals in the life science industry. The program runs over the course of the academic year for the purpose of professional development, hands-on interactions and networking with leaders in the field.
In the 2019-2020 school year the Institute's Mentor Program served 50 students (60% of which were female) and 14 Mentors (50% female).
Mentor Program Feedback:
Mentor: "This is a great hiring tool. We have hired 5 from the program over our years of participation."
Mentee: "I have a much greater understanding of the industry and can connect more easily with professionals at networking events."
Mentee: "My experience with the Mentor Program lead to a summer internship which I hope leads to my first job after graduation."
2020-2021 the Mentor Program will go virtual to continue to meet student needs through the pandemic.
Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)
According to a 2014 Brookings Institution study, employers in all industries highly demand Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) skills, yet workforce readiness does not meet this demand, indicating a gap between employer need and employee knowledge. Specifically, only 44% of high school students were prepared for college level math and 36% ready for college-level science (Rothwell). To directly address this need the Colorado Bioscience Institutes Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program provides educators with practical, hands-on knowledge and experience to enhance their teaching practice for their students. RET is a rigorous, evidence-based professional development program that builds collaborative partnerships between grade 6-12 teachers and industry scientists from leading companies in Colorado. Through the RET program teachers participate in applied, industry-relevant STEM research projects and mentoring activities that facilitate the translation of new knowledge into the classroom. Teachers spend 4 weeks over the summer in the companies, 32 hours a week, and then 8 hours a week in professional development for a total of 30 hours of professional development. Providing science teachers with applied research and hands-on professional development opportunities in STEM industries will improve students' attitudes toward school, interest in STEM careers and long-range educational success thereby bridging the gap between employer needs and student skillsets. The Institute seeks to increase the number of teachers and industry partners in the RET program, as there is a waiting list of teachers and districts interested in participating in the program.
The Institute will receive their latest metrics report in November 2020, assessing impacts on teachers, students and bioscience company employees involved. Additionally, the Institute informally surveys RET participants for qualitative information. The 2019 & 2020 RET cohorts provided this feedback about the program's efficacy:
"This program places the teacher where Science happens every day in an ongoing productive manner which is cutting edge and provides engagement beyond a university experience. True inquiry in practice with people who are excited and dedicated to their work.""I was pushed out of my comfort zone just like a student. It was great!"
"My lab experience will forever change the way I do labs in my classroom."
"My experience made me more aware of career opportunities available to students and specific ways labs operate."
"The planning time provided through PDs and help in making connections was so helpful for taking this experience back to the classroom."
" The most unique thing has to be learning about research in bio-med careers through the speakers and the externship experience. It's helpful to see the world through a different lens compared to
just how information can be shared through teaching"