The Bay Area Biotechnology Education Consortium (BABEC) was founded in 1996 as a 501(c)3 non-profit to address the need for biotechnology education programs in San Francisco Bay Area schools. With the growth of the biotechnology industry in the 1990s, several forward-thinking and creative high school science teachers came together with the goal of bringing these new technologies into the classroom. Their hope was to prepare a local workforce for this burgeoning industry, and to increase scientific literacy by teaching science in a more direct and hands-on way. Today, BABEC incorporates the vision of our founding science teachers into everything we do. In 2017, we changed our name to the Bay Area Bioscience Education Community.
Since 1996, BABEC’s key to success lies in:
Developing strong collaborations with teachers and districts,
Providing a relevant curriculum and technical support,
Producing cost effective access to educational biotechnology supplies and equipment, and
Cultivating a strong regional network of educators and community partners.
BABEC is guided by an equity-based philosophy that a high quality science education is a necessity for all students, regardless of academic achievement, socioeconomic status, or English language proficiency. Through a combination of teacher professional development and highly leveraged, portable biotech supplies and equipment, BABEC helps students develop an interest in science, consider science as a career, and become scientifically literate citizens. BABEC programs are hard at work creating a scientifically literate, technically trained workforce that will continue to feed California’s life science innovation.
During the 2016-2017 school year, BABEC supplied portable biotech laboratories, biotechnology curriculum, and teacher training to over 55 schools in six Bay Area counties, serving over 150 teachers and 16,000 students.
Students of diverse backgrounds gain critical laboratory skills and exposure to life science careers through a substantive program that combines basic bioscience hands-on skills, PCR, fluorescent protein, forensic, industry-based internships, guest speakers from the industry and independent research. A key goal of the program is to give students the skills and confidence needed to pursue additional education and enter the life science technical workforce.
What is biotechnology?
Biotechnology is the set of tools that allows biologists to get answers to interesting biology-oriented scientific questions. Simply put, it is the technology that allows us to do bioscience. It is multidisciplinary and draws from fields as diverse as: molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics, cell biology, microbiology, engineering and design, evolutionary biology and ecology, plant science, forensics, bioinformatics, and many, many more.