In his book, The World is Flat: A Brief History of the 21st Century, Thomas Friedman warns that America is in the midst of a “quiet” crisis. “We are not producing, in this country, in America, enough young people going into science, technology and engineering,” he writes, “the fields that are going to be essential for entrepreneurship and innovation in the 21st century.”
ASRI is committed to resolving this crisis by providing world-class educational opportunities for students and educators. Through these initiatives, ASRI hopes to motivate more young people to enter the field of science, as well as expand the knowledge base of science educators.
In collaboration with the Community College of Allegheny County, the Pittsburgh Tissue Engineering Initiative, the Northside Leadership Conference and the Three Rivers Workforce Initiative Board, ASRI has established the Biotechnology Workforce Collaborative. This program provides underserved people with traditional didactic content education and hands-on training in preparation for a career as life sciences/biotechnology laboratory technicians. Participants earn an associate’s degree from the Community College of Allegheny County, which includes experiential learning with an industry internship.
In addition, ASRI hosts professional development workshops for science educators who would like to update and expand their conceptual knowledge, inquiry-based teaching skills and pedagogical repertoire. Science educators learn about the latest developments in the fields of genetic testing, DNA isolation and sequences analysis, biotechnology and other areas.
ASRI also sponsors various community outreach programs for middle and high school students. Last year, more than 5,000 students and teachers attended the SciTech event at the Carnegie Science Center, where they learned more about ASRI’s research programs, as well as the diverse range of careers within the allied health fields. What’s more, over 1,000 students observed open-heart surgery at Allegheny General Hospital during the past year.