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HudsonAlpha high school 'bioskills' program starts soon

HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology hosts open house for high school students interested in science.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology is hosting an open house for high school students interested in their 'bioskills' program.

BioSkills is a fairly new program at HudsonAlpha and it's geared towards high school students with a flexible schedule who have an interest in science.

Nikki Mertz is the Workforce Development Specialist and Educational Outreach at HudsonAlpha and she said this program expands the mind.

“This allows those students that really have a passion for science and want to expand and learn more than they can in high school have that option,” Mertz said.

This program began last year with a wide variety of courses along with prerequisites to get to the advanced levels.

“We want to make sure they can safely work in the lab and we want to make sure they know micro-pipetting because they would need those skills when they go into the more advanced classes…and those include researching bacteria and beyond, exploring some plant genomics and then also some genetic engineering," Mertz said. 

Bioinformatics is a course that does not require prerequisites and something Mertz said is a great field to look into. 

“Computational biology and bioinformatics is a huge field that we don’t have enough people in the workforce, so if you are interested in that at all…I can almost guarantee you'll come out of college with a very high paying job,” Mertz said.

These students are able to do genetic engineering themselves, "where their cutting DNA and inserting genes into it."

With this hands-on approach they can see what they're interested in and if they want to pursue this research in college. 

The open house is Monday, August 1, 2022 from 4PM to 6PM and is open to the public.

They'll be showing parents and students lab equipment and sharing the different courses they can take.

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