Overview: The Mid-Atlantic Biology Research and Career (MABRC) network is a community of scientists, educators and business professionals working to improve progression of college graduates into life science careers in academia, government, and the private sector. The network will function to determine the essential technical and professional skills needed or sought in today’s BioScience workplace. Critical assessment of these desired skills will be used to evaluate whether current undergraduate biology curricula equip graduates with these skills. As a result of this evaluation, a career conference will be organized to inform and train high school and undergraduate students of the appropriate skills needed. The MARBC network will design a framework for providing authentic research experiences for undergraduate biology students, with an emphasis placed on engaging students in research earlier in their careers and in experiences that incorporates emerging technologies and that develop skills sought after in the workplace. The steering committee will be comprised of Dr. David Rivers (Loyola University Maryland), Dr. Michael Tangrea (Sinai Hospital of Baltimore), Dr. Christopher Thompson (Loyola University Maryland), Dr. Kathleen Kennedy (Baltimore City Community College), Dr. Amrita Madabushi (Baltimore City Community College), Judy Costello (Office of Bio-Health Technology, Department of Commerce, Maryland), Dr. Rommel Miranda (Towson University), Rafael Valdes-Camin (AstraZeneca), Dr. Natasha Schuh-Nuhfer (Center for Excellence in Education), and Dr. Michael Smith (Montgomery Community College).
Intellectual Merit: The network will create a forum for bridging the divide between undergraduate biology education and student preparation for the workforce by a) identifying technical and professional skills essential for the workplace, b) evaluation of undergraduate biology training in the context of career preparation, and c) serving as a gateway between academe, government, and the private sector to students and teachers at high schools, and 2-yr and 4-yr colleges and universities. Network members also aim to enhance student career preparation through the development of a framework for authentic research experiences that can serve as a model for other networks and in a variety of research context and discipline contexts.
Broader Impacts of the Proposed Work: The MABRC network will forge connections between academe, high schools, health care institutions, private industry, and government and non-government agencies to support workforce preparation of college students. The network is designed to promote training of diverse student populations, with the intent of recruiting and retaining women and minority students in the network’s activities and preparation for STEM careers. Member institutions and organizations will initially be affiliated with the emerging biotechnology industry in the mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. This strategy will promote direct access to authentic research and a large network of future employers, facilitates connections with regional high school programs, and allows direct contribution to the workforce in the home states of participating students, the latter being especially important for women and minority students to serve as peers and STEM role models for K-12 students in their own communities.
The overarching goal of this proposal is to build a network to support workforce development for college graduates’ progression towards careers focused on biology and related fields in academia, high school education, government, and the private sector. The network will function to:
a) Determine the essential technical and professional skills needed or sought in today’s workplace, and
evaluate whether traditional undergraduate biology curricula equip graduates with these skills.
b) Establish both a virtual and physical career conference to inform high school and undergraduate
students about the skills needed for STEM careers in all sectors of the workforce and train them
in ways they can best attain these skills.
c) Design a framework for providing authentic research experiences for undergraduate biology students,
which occurs early in their careers, incorporates emerging technologies, and provides multiple
opportunities for engagement in research and authentic enterprise.