STEM magnet school implements HudsonAlpha educational resources

Students, educators and administrators at New Century Technology High School (NCTHS) are collaborating with HudsonAlpha to give students at the Huntsville STEM magnet school the opportunity to picture themselves in genomics and bioinformatics careers. Last school year, HudsonAlpha educators piloted a bioinformatics course for NCTHS students who are interested in biomedicine and computer programming. And this summer, Principal Sheila Roby sponsored three students from the school who attended Summer Short Course.

“I have very enthusiastic students,” said Emily Mason, who taught the bioinformatics course with instructional support from HudsonAlpha. “Most of them have a love for biotechnology and a desire to broaden their knowledge.”

The course introduced students at New Century to the rapidly expanding field of bioinformatics while allowing them to explore publicly available genomic data sets and software tools commonly used in the field. The bioinformatics course curriculum incorporates units on genetic testing and genetic research supplemented by field trips to HudsonAlpha and guest speakers from HudsonAlpha and the biotech companies located on its campus.

“More than a year ago, we saw a need to get high school students excited about how their interests in biology and computer science could intersect,” said Michele Morris, a HudsonAlpha Educational Outreach team member who has coordinated with New Century’s Mason to develop the course. “We’re excited to be able to support Ms. Mason’s classes at New Century, and we look forward to seeing elements of this program in other high schools.”

Mason also selected the students who attended Summer Short Course at HudsonAlpha with support from Principal Roby. Seniors Sasha Thalluri, Elise McClintock and Lance Stanmore spent three weeks at HudsonAlpha exploring the world of next generation genetics last July. At the end of the course, Sasha won the award for “Most Likely to Become a Next Generation Geneticist.”

“I am so thankful Ms. Roby provided the means for me to attend HudsonAlpha’s Summer Short Course because I really enjoyed my time there,” Sasha said. “I met a lot of friends who share the same interests as me in the biotechnology field and mentors who’ve inspired me to pursue a career in biotechnology.”