February 2009, Volume 13, Number 2


MDC makes science real for magnet students

DNA strand

Students from Miami Edison, Miami Jackson and Miami Northwestern senior high schools recently attended biotechnology workshops at MDC’s Wolfson Campus as part of the College’s TRIO program. They participated in experiments and learned about this fast-growing industry and the many career opportunities open to them.

The workshops allowed students to conduct experiments in DNA spooling using salmon DNA. They also observed Petri dishes with E. coli cells synthesizing green fluorescent protein. Lastly, they used the principles of forensics DNA to solve a crime scene case using human hair samples.

The purpose was to get local high school students engaged in the science, technology, engineering and math – the STEM professions.

“We motivate students with lively lectures and hands-on participation in different lab experiences so they can get a sense of what it’s really like to work in one of these fields,” said David Paul, director of the College’s cutting-edge Biotechnology Program. “Our students say we make it ‘real’ for them!”

MDC’s TRIO is a federally funded program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. It serves first-generation college students, economically disadvantaged individuals as well as students with disabilities. The Motorola Co. is a partner on this project, which targets students from Miami-area science magnet schools that are located primarily in the inner city.

“Biotechnology is a $400 billion industry, but there is a shortage of women and minorities in this profession,” Paul said.

Florida is a prime market for a career in this field. The state ranks in the top five nationally for bioscience employment, and job growth here is five percent greater than the national average.

— Barbara Bickel

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Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
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