BASF, Bayer, the Monsanto Fund and Syngenta have provided $6,500 each to the North Carolina Biotechnology Center to support the summer 2016 Ag Biotech Industry in the Classroom program.
The global agricultural biotechnology companies will also open their doors to teachers in the annual summer workshop on July 27, giving participants an opportunity to see their Research Triangle Park labs and greenhouses in operation.
Employees from the companies’ Research Triangle Park sites recommended NCBiotech to receive the funding, to support the Center’s 5-year-old “teaching the teachers” summer workshops for middle and high school science and ag teachers across the state. So far, 73 percent of the teachers have traveled from outside the Research Triangle area to attend the annual workshops.
Besides the funding, the partners provide facility and greenhouse tours and their employees lead discussions about their companies’ histories and goals, their personal career paths, and future career opportunities likely to be available in ag biotech.
These workshops also let teachers meet with farmers , specialists from land grant universities such as North Carolina State University and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, and representatives of a number of other support organizations including AgCareers.com and the North Carolina FFA Association.
Each workshop has a lead instructor from a college or university, who provides subject-matter expertise, and a master instructor – someone currently teaching at the middle or high school level who can relate workshop content back to their teaching curricula.
Each summer's group of about 30 workshop alumni will impart their newly acquired knowledge to a projected 15,000 pupils.
“It’s always deeply gratifying to see this commitment to education from these ag biotech companies,” said Amber Niebauer, MBA, CSEP, AgBiotech Program & Resource Development Manager for the Biotechnology Center. “And it also takes on a uniquely personal dimension when workshop instructors, company personnel and teachers participating in the workshops interact.”
All four ag biotech organizations have provided funding for the program since its inception in 2012.