Amgen Foundation Launches Amgen Biotech Experience In Pittsburgh
Unique Partnership With the Richard King Mellon Foundation Brings Renowned Science Education Program to Pittsburgh Area High School Students
The Citizen Science Lab Will Serve as Local Program Site
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. and PITTSBURGH, Oct. 9, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The Amgen Foundation today announced the launch of the Amgen Biotech Experience (ABE) program in Pittsburgh, Pa. Through a grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation, the region's students will become a part of the Amgen Foundation's respected international science education program, making it the tenth program site in the United States and the 20th worldwide.
Citizen Science Lab will serve as the program site for the ABE Pittsburgh, administering the program to local high schools for free. During its initial pilot year (2019–20), the ABE Pittsburgh has enrolled teachers from Pittsburgh Public Schools, City Charter High School, Propel Charter Schools, Upper St. Clair School District and Bethel Park School Districts. Across the various school districts, the science education program aims to reach 6,000 students in the first year and 12,000 in the second year.
The Amgen Foundation created ABE as a way to reimagine how high school students experience science in the classroom and to help expand science literacy more broadly. In 2017, the Amgen Foundation announced ABE's expansion to Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, Italy, The Netherlands and Singapore. The program is already under way in multiple locations across the United States, Puerto Rico, United Kingdom and Ireland. Globally, ABE is expected to reach nearly 900,000 secondary school students by 2020 in 20 regions around the world.
"Our goal is to create classroom experiences that will inspire students and ignite their interest in careers in science," said Scott Heimlich, Ed.D., vice president of the Amgen Foundation. "The solutions to humanity's biggest challenges—from healthcare to the environment—will be tackled by future scientists, some who may have their passion sparked through the Amgen Biotech Experience. We're grateful that the Richard King Mellon Foundation is working with us to bring hands-on biotechnology experiences to the students of Pittsburgh."
For nearly 30 years, ABE has empowered high school science teachers to implement real-world biotechnology labs in their classrooms, helping their students better understand science and how it influences their daily lives. The initiative provides professional development resources for teachers, instructional materials, and research-grade equipment, such as micropipettes and gel electrophoresis, to underserved classrooms. Through a series of lab experiences, the students are immersed in the concepts and techniques scientists use to discover and develop new innovations in health.
"Pittsburgh has a lot to offer as far as informal science education experiences. The problem is many of these programs are not accessible to the youth who need it in the neighborhoods that need it," said Andre Samuel, Ph.D., president and CEO of Citizen Science Lab, and ABE Pittsburgh program site director. "This program allows us to train teachers who can then bring it back to their classrooms. That's one of the reasons we are excited to partner with the Amgen Foundation—to bring this hands-on science learning experience to our local high school students and teachers in Pittsburgh."
Communities that have implemented ABE have seen a significant impact. Results of an independent evaluation by WestEd found that ABE students have shown substantial gains in biotechnology learning, as well as increased confidence and interest in doing science and biotechnology. Specifically:
Students had a statistically significant increase of their biotechnology knowledge and skills (p<0.001).
Students averaged a 20% increase between pre- and post-test scores.
82% of students got new ideas about what happens in science labs.
72% of students got new ideas about what science is.
53% of students are more interested in learning about science research.
53% of students report increased interest in science careers from ABE participation.
Separately, WestEd has awarded ABE with the highest possible ranking in STEMworks, its database of effective STEM education programs. Business leaders, funders, and STEM advocates use STEMworks to find proven, scalable programs to help them maximize their impact on STEM education.
About the Amgen Foundation The Amgen Foundation seeks to advance excellence in science education to inspire the next generation of innovators and invest in strengthening communities where Amgen staff members live and work. To date, the Foundation has donated over $300 million to local, regional, and international nonprofit organizations that impact society in inspiring and innovative ways. The Amgen Foundation brings the excitement of discovery to the scientists of tomorrow through several signature programs, including Amgen Scholars, Amgen Biotech Experience, and the soon-to-launch LabXchange. For more information, visit www.amgeninspires.com and follow us on Twitter @AmgenFoundation.
About The Citizen Science Lab The Citizen Science Lab is a hands-on laboratory where inquisitive minds and science enthusiasts can explore the life sciences. It is open to everyone to observe and analyze through discovery-based learning and STEM enrichment.
In January 2015, Duquesne University and Urban Innovation21 partnered to create and launch The Citizen Science Lab (CSL). Now in our 5th year of operation, The CSL has served over 3,000 students through numerous programs that primarily serve as extracurricular educational support for public school students through two locations in the Hill District and in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. The CSL is currently in development of an additional lab in Beaver County and the city of Philadelphia.
The CSL values the importance of encouraging youth to explore STEM through hands on experimentation and lab activities. Our philosophy is that students learn the most when provided with a hands-on activity to discover the solution to a problem. The CSL utilizes hands-on experimentation to deter the disinterest students have with STEM as a result of the lecture-based learning that is commonly associated with these fields of study. Additionally, when students are given hands-on experimentation opportunities, the technology they are working with is not advanced which deepens their disinterest. The CSL works to solve this issue by teaching students techniques that are identical to the techniques used in laboratories globally. These techniques, coupled with unique and advanced technology, ensures that students obtain a fruitful educational experience while concurrently having an enjoyable time with their peers.