Harrisburg event will introduce students to careers in biotechnology

Reprinted from the Thursday, February 2, 2012 edition of  Keystoneedge

Before a student can decide to pursue a career in biotechnology, something has to light a spark of excitement about this growing field.

One goal of the Capital Area Biotechnology Partnershipis to fuel this interest in Harrisburg-area high school students. This group includes several high schools, vocational schools, state agencies and life-sciences companies. The partnership, partially funded by a grant from the state Department of Community and Economic Development, is meant to create clear paths for students to follow through high school and college to jobs in the industry.One highlight of this partnership is its annual Biotechnology Showcase for students in middle school, high school and college. This year it’s set for March 23 at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology. The event will include chances for university students to present their research, activities for younger students in college laboratories (like extracting DNA from a strawberry) and panel discussions in which executives from biotech companies will talk about their businesses and opportunities to work in the growing field.”The students have a chance to see the kind of openings the companies have,” says Leena Pattarkine, who teaches biotechnology the university and directs the partnership. “The material can be taught to them later,” Pattarkine says. “Get them interested now.”

More than 200 students are expected in Harrisburg for the showcase. Pattarkine says that in past years, some have come from as far as Baltimore and Philadelphia.

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