13 Sep 2019

HudsonAlpha’s LABS program helps develop tomorrow’s stem-based workforce

Teachers, principals, friends and family gathered to celebrate high school students in the HudsonAlpha Launching Aspiring Biotechnology Scientists (LABS) program September 4 in the Chan Auditorium. 

There are 12 students in the second cohort of the LABS program. To honor their dedication and achievement, they were presented lab coats at the ceremony.

LABS equips high school students from disadvantaged and underrepresented populations with the skills and knowledge essential to confidently take the “next steps” toward participating in tomorrow’s stem-based workforce. The program gives students the opportunity to work independently in HudsonAlpha’s state-of-the-art facilities, making them ready to take advantage of future laboratory opportunities.

“Since being involved in the program, I have learned how to properly use laboratory equipment,” said LABS participant Marielle Baumgartner, a senior at Bob Jones High School in Madison, Ala. “I now feel very confident in using micropipettes, centrifuges, and following lab procedures with lots of different machinery, like thermocyclers, heat blocks, gel electrophoresis machines, and how to extract DNA. I have practiced working independently in a lab setting and have become confident in following instructions.” 

The program teaches students to use equipment and techniques that they may not have access to through their normal course of studies. In addition, LABS allows students to engage with professionals in STEM fields to encourage them along the path to future careers. 

“We are starting to see the impact of the LABS program in the students that it serves,” said Dasi Price, student experiences lead at HudsonAlpha. “The feedback we have received from students that have moved into STEM career paths is encouraging because they are getting the foundation and experience necessary to thrive in a 21st-century workforce.” 

“I am certainly considering attending medical school in the future,” said Baumgartner. “The skills I learned at LABS will definitely be very valuable for doing research in undergraduate and medical school.”

The LABS program is made possible by generous support from The Boeing Company, BBVA Compass Foundation and Wells Fargo Foundation. Click here to view the full photo gallery from the event.