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Using High School Outreach Opportunities to Foster Interest in STEM

ARMI | BioFabUSA believes that is important to foster interest in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) for children of all ages. As evidence of this belief, ARMI is active at high schools and is working to spread awareness about the potential for career opportunities in the emerging fields of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

ARMI | BioFabUSA’s program analyst Jack Vailas has been very involved in these outreach activities. Recently Jack spoke at the Windham High School Science National Honor Society (SNHS) “STEM to Your Career Night” event. Students were able to benefit from his and other presenters’ views as insiders in STEM careers.

It also gave students insight to various industries and allow students to think about how they may effectively prepare themselves for careers.  Jack was one of ten presenters that spoke to more than 100 high school students and delivered a well-received presentation on “Manufacturing the Future of Biofabrication” that educated students about the possibilities in this emerging industry.

Jack has also spent time mentoring. Recently, he mentored a student from Manchester Central High School who was involved in an Extended Learning Opportunity. The program involved answering her questions and guiding her as she worked to gather information and ideas about ways to enter a career in biofabrication. He was also present at the final project presentation. A sign of success of the program is that the two remain in touch even though the project has come to a close.

We are committed to engaging the community as we seek to develop scalable programs that can have the same positive impact on workforce development that Jack’s efforts have produced.  We are excited by the positive response from these individual efforts as well as the early results of programmatic efforts of ARMI’s Education and Workforce initiatives, such as BioHackNH and the Automated Manufacturing Workshop with Advanced Solutions Life Sciences (ASLS) and Dimension Inx. Through personal and programmatic efforts such as these, we are excited to help students and lifelong learners gain a clearer understanding of the limitless career possibilities within STEM fields and, hopefully, have sparked more of them to seek opportunities in biofabrication.