Preparing Students for Biotechnology Careers
Agriculture has been using technologies to increase productions and efficiencies through decades of changes. Rapid pacing has brought about technologies faster than ever before. Today students are being educated and trained for technologies that do not yet exist. Agriculture instructors need to be prepared to educate students for future technology. Therein lies the challenge. How do we prepare students for technology that does not even exist. To understand this immersion into the different agriculture fields is necessary to understand where the improved technology will be developed. This Grand Challenge is located in Northeast Georgia, Poultry Capital of the world, home of the Georgia Bulldogs, the USDA Southeast Regional Poulty Research Center and several agricultural biotechnology companies. There are also developing biotechnology companies that will be established in this area in the next 5 years.
Biotechnology is used in many different fields in agriculture, there are basic biotechnological skills that are transferable across the these fields. This Grand Challenge seeks to identify the basic skill set that will prepare students for entry level careers in biotechnology. The focus will be with animal vaccine production giant Boehringer Ingleheim which has a production facility in Athens, Georgia.
Before teaching I had a 17 year career with the Georgia Department of Agriculture as an inspector. I have a 20 year career in teaching agriculture. Currently I teach Basic Agriscience and Technology, Horticulture/Plant Science, Nursery Landscape, Animal Science/Biotechnology, and Veterinary Science. In 2004 I participated in a plant tissue culture workshop which drew my attention to biotechnology. Since then I have participated in more training, added the principles of biotechnology into my lessons, coordinated workshops, collaborated with researchers, and have had extensive experience in the FFA Agriscience Fair and other science competitions. In my other life, my husband of 33 years and I have a 200 acre beef cattle and meat goat farm. We have three children that have all had experience in exhibiting livestock, FFA Career Development Events, leadership, and Agriscience Fair. I understand the relevance of staying current with information and technology from a producer’s perspective and an industry perspective, as well as how to utilize it to make our industry more productive.
Participant School & Location:
Cedar Shoals High School Athens, GA