New TUSD program gives biotech students leg up

2014-08-18T22:00:00Z 2014-08-19T09:29:26Z New TUSD program gives biotech students leg upBy Alexis Huicochea Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

A new program launched Monday will help enable TUSD biotech students to take control of their future, researching career opportunities available locally and what employers are looking for.

The initiative is part of an effort to grow interest in STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — and to create career pathways with help from students themselves. The information gathered by students will be shared with the Tucson Unified School District and Pima County One-Stop to develop meaningful programming.

About 240 students from Pueblo and Tucson high schools will take part in the Biotech Pipeline effort.

Students will gather information on nearly two dozen local biotech businesses and conduct interviews to make career connections, learn what companies are looking for and how that connects with what they are learning in the classroom.

“This gives students the opportunity to explore what they want to be and take the next steps,” said Carolina Canastillo, 16, an aspiring veterinarian. “I think it will help students understand what we are learning.”

While participating students have much to gain from the program, by documenting findings the lessons learned can be expanded upon and implemented for future students with an interest in STEM.

“Students learn quite a few skills in the classroom, and through working with people in the industry they’re able to see the application of those skills,” said TUSD Superintendent H.T. Sanchez. “The best part is it ties our kids to employers to begin the conversation about what the employers are looking for in terms of their workforce. That, of course, better informs ... all of us in what we need to have in our curriculum.”

Contact reporter Alexis Huicochea at ahuicochea@tucson.com or 573-4175. On Twitter @AlexisHuicochea

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