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Blinn College, College Station ISD partnership prepares students for the biotechnology industry

Students earn college credit toward Blinn Therapeutics Manufacturing degree while in high school

December 4, 2017

After attending a marine biotechnology camp in North Carolina during the summer, College Station High School (CSHS) senior Madison Cornwell returned to Texas convinced a career in the growing biotechnology industry was the perfect fit.

Thanks to a new partnership between the Blinn College District and College Station ISD, Cornwell did not have to wait until after graduation to begin working toward her career aspirations. She enrolled in CSHS’s Advanced Biotechnology class – a one-year dual credit course that allows high school juniors and seniors to earn credit toward a Blinn Therapeutics Manufacturing degree while fulfilling their high school science requirements.

“This course is very hands-on and detail-oriented,” Cornwell said. “Since I have a passion for biotechnology and would like to pursue it as a career, this class is an amazing opportunity available right here in our high school.”

Therapeutics manufacturing is a specialization that blends cutting-edge science with medical research to manufacture vaccines and other products used to treat, prevent, cure, or diagnose disease. Blinn’s Therapeutics Manufacturing Program equips students with enhanced training in current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP), quality assurance, quality control, biomanufacturing processes, and cell culturing necessary for pharmaceutical production.

Graduates of the program are eligible for entry-level positions with competitive salaries in the growing Texas biomanufacturing industry. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for therapeutics manufacturing technicians are projected to grow 10 percent from 2016 to 2026. Workforce Solutions Brazos Valley anticipates 18 percent growth locally during that same time span, with an hourly salary range between $10.09 and $35.82.


 

Students in Stephanie Garcia’s Advanced Biotechnology class at College Station High School prepare solutions for a spectrophotometric analysis. Thanks to a new partnership between Blinn College and College Station High School, this one-year dual credit course allows high school juniors and senior to earn credit toward a Blinn Therapeutics Manufacturing degree while also fulfilling their high school science requirements.


 

Students who successfully complete CSHS’s Advanced Biotechnology class receive credit for Blinn’s Introduction to Biotechnology course. This laboratory-based course provides an introduction to biotechnology concepts, including the history and applications of DNA and RNA technology, molecular biology, bioethics, and laboratory safety procedures.

“The curriculum at CSHS coincided so closely with that of the Blinn Therapeutics Manufacturing Program that it was just a matter of going through the formal process to allow the students to earn college credit,” Program Director Michael Johanson said. “This class is a great way to introduce students to the biotechnology industry. If this field is something the student is interested in pursuing, we hope they will come to Blinn to complete the program.”

In addition to learning concepts, students in Advanced Biotechnology are introduced to essential laboratory skills such as pipetting, measurement and calibration techniques, solution preparation, and biomolecule analysis. They also are exposed to a variety of laboratory instruments, including pH meters, spectrophotometers, and chromatography equipment.

“This class is designed to show students what biotechnology is and what it would be like if they chose it as a career,” said CSHS teacher Stephanie Garcia, who has more than a decade of industry research and laboratory experience. “We are very excited to partner with Blinn to give our students a foot in the door to this growing industry.”

Students interested in earning college credit for the Advanced Biotechnology class are required to apply for admission to Blinn and complete a dual credit approval form. Students pay a reduced tuition rate.

For more information on Blinn’s Therapeutics Manufacturing Program and its 60-hour Associate of Applied Sciences (AAS) degree and certificate programs, including the 36-credit hour Therapeutics Manufacturing Certificate and 30-credit hour Therapeutics Manufacturing Advanced Technical Certificate, visit: www.blinn.edu/therapeutics.

Registration for Blinn’s Winter Minimester, which runs Dec. 15-22 and Jan. 3-10, is available through Dec. 14, and registration for the Spring semester is open through Jan. 15. College officials encourage early registration for convenient scheduling and placement in high-demand courses.

For enrollment or financial aid information, visit www.blinn.edu.