The education and outreach programs of HudsonAlpha are organized around two guiding principles: preparing the future biotechnology workforce and cultivating an awareness of the influence of genetics and biotechnology on the lives of all citizens. These principles are put into action with the following goals:
Goal 1 – Educate the students, teachers and citizens of Alabama about the impact of biotechnology on daily life.
The Human Genome Project and its associated research initiatives have taken human biology and medicine to a new level. The influence of genetics, from the foods we serve at our table to the medications prescribed by our doctor, expands daily, along with the complex ethical and cultural issues these activities raise. There is an urgent need for the public to be more educated about these issues. At HudsonAlpha, we strive to meet this need by partnering with educators, policy makers and various civic groups to develop appropriate school curricula, hands-on student experiences and opportunities for public discussion. Facilitating widespread understanding of the implications of research in agriculture, industry and medicine and encouraging individuals to make the best use of personal genetic information as it relates to improving health and preventing disease are targeted results.
Goal 2- Inspire Alabama students through hands-on modules, in-depth classroom and summer experiences, and distance learning opportunities.
By working with state education officials and teachers, HudsonAlpha aims to prompt “Eureka!” moments for students statewide. HudsonAlpha has partnered with the Alabama State Department of Education to develop hands-on, inquiry-based activities for middle and high school students through the Alabama Math, Science and Technology Initiative (AMSTI). HudsonAlpha is collaborating with local organizations to provide summer camps for both middle and high school students, as well as skills-based biotechnology courses and internships for high school juniors and seniors. Distance learning approaches are being developed and tested for many of these activities, thus bringing the excitement of discovery and opportunities for learning to all students across the state.
Goal 3 – Inform Alabama educators and students regarding biotechnology as a field with challenging and rewarding career opportunities across a range of skill levels.
As the biotechnology field continues to mature, a well-trained cadre of technicians, researchers, information specialists and entrepreneurs must be cultivated to meet growing needs. Many of our educational programs feature hands-on training and internship opportunities that provide key skills and experiences in both research and corporate settings.
Goal 4 – Assist educators through biotechnology training, curriculum and teaching materials.
Educators have a profound impact on creating future generations of informed citizens: By reaching out to teachers and administrators, thousands of students are touched every year. Professional development programs for educators are an integral part of HudsonAlpha’s outreach activities and we are actively partnering with the Alabama State Department of Education, as well as Alabama’s colleges and universities to offer genetic and biotechnology training and materials to in-service and pre-service middle and high school teachers.