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Career Story: Director Of A Science Outreach Program

Director Of A Science Outreach Program

Job Title: Director Of A Science Outreach Program

Type of Company: I work for a biotechnology company that creates new medicines in the areas of oncology, immunology and neurobiology.

Education: BA, Biopsychology, Bates College •• Ph.D., Neuroscience, University of Rochester

Previous Experience: After my graduate science training, I worked as an educator and lab manager for a university-based science outreach program for a couple of years.

Job Tasks: The goal of the outreach program is to get more middle and high school students excited about science. Our hope is that providing students with an opportunity to come into a real-world science setting and getting to do real science with current technologies will engage them. We also strive to make students aware of the many science and non-science careers in the biotech industry. I am responsible for the whole program including day-to-day operations of scheduling classes to visit our lab space, teaching the hands-on labs and developing new labs and curriculum. I also recruit and coordinate other employees at the company to volunteer in the lab and train them and I'm responsible for the longer term goals and visions of the lab.

On a typical day I would come in and set up the lab space, then teach the middle or high school class that visits that day. The labs are all biotech-related and hands-on. The labs take 2 to 5 hours. After the classes leave, I clean up and prepare for the next day. I also have to work with teachers to coordinate and schedule visits. I also work with other area science education professionals and serve as a resource on science education within the company. In addition, I strive to publicize the program to the general public and occasionally offer workshops for the general public.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part is when a student gets "turned on" to science, especially one who says "This was fun and usually I don't like science!" I really enjoy opening the eyes of students to the many different career opportunities in biotech. For me there really aren't any "worst" parts of the job. All jobs have some tedious and menial task: paperwork and what not. For me a challenge can be teaching the same 8 or 9 labs over and over again over the years.

Job Tips:
1. You need a strong background in science - in this case biology and chemistry. The more hands on experience in the lab you have the better!

2. Look for opportunities to teach a variety of people (students of different ages, abilities), whether it's science or some other topic of interest to you.

3. Have good organizational skills and communication skills.

Additional Thoughts: This is a great career for someone who loves science but also loves teaching and working with kids.

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