Miramar Amgen Teacher Support Center (MATSC)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)    






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What is the Life Science Industry?

The life sciences industry emerged in the 1970s, based largely on a new recombinant DNA technique whose details were published in 1973 by Stanley Cohen of Stanford University and Herbert Boyer of the University of California , San Francisco. Recombinant DNA is a method of making proteins, such as human insulin and other therapies, in cultured cells under controlled manufacturing conditions. Boyer went on to co-found Genentech, which today is biotechnology's largest company by market capitalization.

California is home to 48% of all Life Sciences Companies. San Diego boasts one of the largest concentrations of life science companies in the world, employing nearly 35,000 scientists, researchers, laboratory technicians and business professionals at 500-plus companies. This powerful cluster of companies is an important component of the San Diego economy and offers promising career opportunities for job seekers willing to invest the time to understand the needs and emerging trends within this dynamic field.

Although maybe best known for health and human care products, the umbrella term "Life Science" can be applied to a wide range of diverse businesses, directly or indirectly based on life processes.

For more information about the Life Sciences Industry in California, please see the attached report for the California Centers for Excellence.

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What is CTE and STEM Education?

The mission of CTE (Career-Technical Education) is to help empower students for effective participation in an international economy as world-class workers and citizens. CTE programs are designed to contribute to the broad educational achievement of students, including basic skills such as reading, writing, and mathematics, as well as to their ability to work independently and as part of a team, think creatively and solve problems, and utilize technology.

Career and technical education is about helping students, workers and lifelong learners of all ages fulfill their working potential. First and foremost it's about high school and college education that provides students with:

  • Academic subject matter taught with relevance to the real world, often called contextual learning
  • Employability skills, from job-related skills to workplace ethics
  • Education pathways that help students explore interests and careers in the process of progressing through school

But career and technical education is also about:

  • Second-chance education and training for the unemployed and those seeking to upgrade their employability skills
  • Education to earn additional degrees, especially when related to career advancement

So what is STEM Education? The acronym STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. This program was started by the National Science Foundation's education and human-resources division. This approach to education is designed to revolutionize the teaching of subject areas such as mathematics and science by incorporating technology and engineering into regular curriculum by creating a "meta-discipline".

  • STEM Education attempts to transform the typical teacher-centered classroom by encouraging a curriculum that is driven by problem-solving, discovery, exploratory learning, and require students to actively engage a situation in order to find its solution.
  • STEM disciplines have been taught separately and most of the time independently from each other. By adopting the STEM philosophy Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics all play an integral part in the teaching of the whole.
  • The science, engineering, and mathematics fields are made complete by the technology component that provides a creative and innovative way to problem solve and apply what has been learned.

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What is the Amgen Biotech Experience?

Amgen is one of the top three biotechnology companies in the world. Introduced in 1990 and named in memory of Bruce Wallace, one of Amgen's first staff members, the program provides flexible hands-on, inquiry-based experience with the same materials, tools and techniques used by professional scientists. The Amgen-Bruce Wallace program allows teachers to introduce biotechnology and three Nobel Prize winning experiments by integrating recombinant DNA technology into their science curriculum with all of the equipment, supplies and reagents necessary for the three-week program at no cost to the participants.

We have used the Amgen program because it fulfills the spirit of STEM Education and allows teachers to introduce Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics through 6 laboratory exercises. This program is generously funded by the Amgen Foundation.

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What is the Life Sciences Summer Institute?

Life Science Summer Institute Teacher Program

  • Standards Based Biotech Curriculum: High school teachers are trained on the Amgen Biotech Experience (formerly the Amgen Bruce Wallace Biotechnology Lab Curriculum).
  • Industry Visits: Teachers visit local life sciences companies and interact with science professionals, and see first-hand the latest biotechnology practices and research & development.
  • Collaborate with San Diego teachers: Adapt the curriculum to meet the needs of your particular student population aligned to the Common Core Standards and Next Generation Standards.
  • Ongoing Support for Curriculum Implementation: Teachers who have no equipment or supplies receive loaner equipment, free supplies, staff support to implement the curriculum.
  • Continuing Education Credits: Available for qualified applicants through Cal State San Marcos Continuing Education.
  • Paid Opportunity: Participating teachers may receive an implementation stipend.

  Life Sciences Summer Institute Student Program

  • One week 'boot camp' pre-service training
  • 7-9 week paid internship

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Who Implements these Programs?

The Southern California Biotechnology Center (www.scbcmiramar.org) implements these programs in partnership with the Life Sciences Summer Institute and the San Diego Workforce Partnership with generous funding from the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office.

STEM and CTE Activities Include:

  • Workforce
    • Career Awareness and Counseling
    • Entry Level Training Programs
    • Up-skilling for re-entry and incumbent workers
    • Workforce Pipeline Development
  • Internships
    • Business
    • Professional Development of Incumbent Workers
    • Assistance in finding 'lab-ready' employees
    • Creating connections to local training providers
  • Economic Development
    • Partnership with industry organizations
      • California Life Sciences Association in the San Francisco Bay area
      • Southern California Biomedical Council in the greater Los Angeles basin
      • BIOCOM in the greater San Diego region
    • Access of programs to underserved populations
  • College Support
    • Curriculum Infrastructure
    • Training for Training Providers
    • Assistance in Industry Connections
    • Industry Advisory Boards
    • Capacity Building through Industry Donations

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Creation of this website was made possible by a Career Technical Education (CTE) grant from
the California Community College Economic and Workforce Development Program.
Website design provided by Barrett Resource Group.