VIDEO: BioSTEM Program Elevates Biotechnology Education at White House Heritage High School

VIDEO: BioSTEM Program Elevates Biotechnology Education at White House Heritage High School

WHITE HOUSE, TENNESSEE: (Smokey Barn News) -At White House Heritage High School, a groundbreaking BioSTEM program is preparing students for careers in biotechnology. With hands-on training and nationally recognized certifications, this innovative initiative equips students with the skills needed for success in the biotech industry.

Robertson County Schools is proud of the ongoing success of the BioSTEM program at White House Heritage High School. Launched in the 2019-20 school year, this innovative program is one of the first two in Tennessee and continues to set new standards in biotechnology education and career preparation for WHHHS students.

The vision for this program originated with Principal Dr. Kim Hass, who aimed to establish a state-of-the-art science lab for hands-on biotechnology experience. Funded by a $150,000 federal grant, the lab was equipped with advanced technology and tools necessary for student learning and exploration. Mrs. Erica Hoover, the BioSTEM classroom instructor, offers three specialized courses designed for students excelling in biology and chemistry, preparing them for careers in the biotech industry.

Dr. Hass explains, “The BioSTEM program was a dream we started four years ago. Mrs. Hoover agreed to lead the program, hoping students could graduate with BioSTEM certification and immediately enter the workforce with a potential starting salary of $50,000 annually. She attended numerous professional growth opportunities to provide this unique learning experience.”

A key component of the BioSTEM program is the Biotechnician Assistant Credentialing Exam (BACE), a nationally recognized certification developed by Biotility in collaboration with the University of Florida. This certification allows students to demonstrate their lab skills and knowledge, significantly enhancing their employment prospects. After a pilot test during the 2022-23 school year, three students successfully passed the BACE, earning their certification as Biotech Lab Technicians.

CTE Supervisor Mark Gregory expressed his pride, stating, “I am incredibly proud of the hard work and determination shown by Mrs. Hoover and her students. Their success illustrates how combining academic learning with practical skills can open doors to high-paying, in-demand jobs.”

The program’s appeal is further enhanced by allowing students to conduct independent research projects. Mrs. Hoover shared, “In the third course, six students worked on their own projects. One student tested the authenticity of organic foods by looking for specific genes, while another compared fish types used in imitation crab meat. These projects allow students to apply their skills to real-world questions, embodying the essence of science.”

White House Heritage is the only school in Robertson County equipped to support this advanced program. Students from other parts of the county interested in biotechnology can apply to transfer to White House Heritage to join the BioSTEM program.

This initiative demonstrates RCS’s commitment to providing students with essential skills and opportunities for success in today’s job market, proudly leading the way in BioSTEM education and preparing the next generation of biotech professionals.

In the video: Dr. Kimberly Hass, Principal, Erica Hoover, Biology and BioSTEM Teacher, and Samantha Asmus, Student.

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