I am indebted to the Amgen Biotech Experience for enabling me, over all of these many years, to always prepare my students to be competitive, prepared and inspired in the field of science through their experiences with ABE. I could not provide this opportunity to my students without this program.—High school teacher who has participated in ABE for 25 years
Over the last 25 years, ABE’s reach has been extraordinary. To date, ABE has engaged over 500,000 students in hands-on biotechnology learning using the same equipment used in research labs at world-class research institutions and in industry. ABE is sustained at sites, becomes rooted in schools, and has produced cadres of expert ABE teachers who continue to participate over time. Two pilot studies conducted by WestEd, the ABE program’s evaluator, indicate that exposure to ABE increases student knowledge and skills in biotechnology. A larger, program-wide student assessment study is currently underway to strengthen program-wide statements of student learning and interest.
Funded by the Amgen Foundation with direction and technical assistance provided by Education Development Center (EDC), the program features a hands-on molecular biology curriculum designed to introduce students to the excitement of scientific discovery and to the processes used to make human therapeutics.
The ABE program continues to develop to meet the increasingly rigorous demands for science education in the U.S. and to play a key role in sparking students’ interest in science and STEM careers. Each year, more than 75,000 students and nearly 1,000 science teachers participate in this program and have the opportunity to explore the methods scientists use to create biotechnology medicines.
Demand for the ABE program and its approach to engaging students in real-world science learning is very high. Even when the program is not available locally to provide equipment to teachers, teachers from across the U.S. travel at their own expense to participate in ABE professional development to learn about biotechnology and bring this knowledge back to their students.
Opportunities exist both in current ABE communities and in areas where the program is not supported currently. Corporate supporters can provide funding to existing ABE program sites to expand their reach to additional schools, purchase a suite of equipment that can be housed in or used to target particular school districts (approx. $15-20K), or provide connections to industry (by having employees speak to teachers and students about their work or inviting them to visit). Corporate supporters can also provide funding to bring ABE to new communities; the cost to maintain an ABE program site is approx. $100K per year.Funders and Partners
Major funder: Amgen Foundation
Program partners: Biotium, Embitec, miniPCR, New England BioLabs, San Diego Workforce Partnership, Inc., Thermo Fisher Scientific
The programs in this database clear a high bar. STEMworks reviewed each program against CTEq's Design Principles for Effective STEM Philanthropy.
Identify and target a compelling and well-defined need.
Use rigorous evaluation to continuously measure and inform progress towards the compelling need identified.
Ensure work is sustainable.
Demonstrate replicability and scalability.
Create high impact partnerships
Ensure organizational capacity to achieve goals.
Offer challenging and relevant STEM content for the target audience
Incorporate and encourage STEM practices.
Inspire interest and engagement in STEM.
Identify and address the needs of under-represented groups.