04 May 2023

HudsonAlpha Hosts First Ever DNA in Biotech Career Day

Because of generous support from Redstone Federal Credit Union, HudsonAlpha’s inaugural career day welcomed over 200 students representing every high school in Madison County

HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology is a unique center for the biotech industry in Huntsville, uniting scientific research, STEM educational outreach programs, and biotech economic development efforts under one roof.

For the first time ever, 11th and 12th grade students in Madison County came to HudsonAlpha’s campus on April 21, 2023, for DNA in Biotech, a biotech-focused career day that explored careers in all three of the Institute’s mission areas. 

As school buses pulled up on HudsonAlpha’s campus and students filled the Jackson Center, Kelly East, HudsonAlpha Vice President of Educational Outreach, kicked off the conference by welcoming over 200 students who were nominated by their schools to participate in the inaugural event. Before pausing to take a selfie with the crowd, East noted that every high school in Madison County was represented that morning.

Once breakfast was served, students broke up into one of three tracks for the day: research, healthcare, and business. Structured like a small professional conference, students spent the morning hearing from a wide range of STEM professionals, from post-doctoral students to senior scientists, biotech entrepreneurs, genetic counselors, and marketing and communications professionals. 

“It was tremendously exciting for us to host students on HudsonAlpha’s campus for this event,” said East. “It gave students the opportunity to see firsthand what careers in biotechnology look like, and to connect with the people and places that make HudsonAlpha a center for discovery and innovation. We hope this was the first of many events like this.” 

After a morning of conference activities, students returned to the Jackson Center for lunch and a keynote speech by Neil Lamb, PhD, HudsonAlpha President. As students swapped notes about the different tracks they had been on, they had the opportunity to network with HudsonAlpha’s range of professionals before boarding their buses to return to school.

“This program was an eye-opening experience,” said Lexi, a 12th grade student from Lee High School. “This experience eased my anxiety about my future and made my dreams seem more possible.” 

DNA in Biotech Career Day would not have been possible without the generous support of Redstone Federal Credit Union. The organization is devoted to supporting education throughout North Alabama, with a special interest in programs that support workforce development by helping students of all ages to be prepared for their future professional life. 

Nathan Lombard, Senior Assistant Vice President for the Schools Program, and Kaeshier Fernandez, Financial Education Coordinator, attended the DNA in Biotech opening remarks. As Fernandez placed business cards on each table in the conference center, with the hopes that students might reach out with questions about Redstone’s scholarship opportunities, he remarked that “Pouring into the next generation of workforce professionals is a priority and a passion of mine, as well as for Redstone. Events like this help raise up the next generation of biotech leaders and business professionals.”