Baltimore City Community College hosted the impressive Maryland Collegiate Stem Conference on Saturday, April 27th, 2019. Approximately, 500 attendees (~300 students and ~200 faculty) from several community colleges and a few universities attended the event. Students presented posters on their research and alumni talked about their careers. It was especially great to see the Lt. Governor of Maryland, Boyd Rutherford, walking around and talking to the students about their posters. Having the Lt. Governor attend the event demonstrated the serious commitment that Maryland has made to educating students for STEM careers.
Both the keynote speakers, Arthur Shapiro, American University, and Ashley Hagler, Gaston College, gave inspiring presentations and talked with students throughout the event.
I really appreciated the chance to hear Dr. Amrita Madabushi's former BCCC students (Djeneba Sidibe, Louison Kougang, Lian Jackson) describe their career paths and what they've learned. All three had served in leadership roles in BCCC's biotechnology club, and this experience was evident in the confident way they shared their stories and described their jobs. All three mentioned future plans to complete doctorates in biology and I am sure they will all do well.
Another highlight of the event, was the chance to meet with faculty from Maryland Bio-Link programs. Amrita organized a lunchtime meeting with faculty from Baltimore City Community College, the Community College of Baltimore County, Hagerstown Community College, Harford Community College, Montgomery Community College (Germantown), and faculty from Towson University.
We talked about the common challenges that community college biotech programs share - raising awareness, recruiting, pathways, dual credit options vs. early college, resume writing. Maryland has a strong group of faculty that are clearly destined to make this region a powerhouse in biotech education.