December 12, 2011
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Front Range Community College Receives Amgen Foundation Grant to Expand Biotechnology Program in High Schools

Front Range Community College has received a grant of $186,825 over two years from the Amgen Foundation to expand the Amgen-Bruce Wallace Biotechnology Lab Program with high schools in FRCC’s service area.

The Amgen-Bruce Wallace Biotechnology Lab Program enables high school teachers to integrate Nobel-Prize winning recombinant DNA technology into their science curriculum. The program provides faculty training, equipment, and curriculum at no cost to the participants. The goal is to introduce and excite students about the wonders of scientific discovery. The Amgen Foundation has invested more than $4 million in the program in communities where Amgen has a presence and reached more than 37,000 students this past academic year.

This is the second grant FRCC has received from the Amgen Foundation. In 2007, FRCC was the first college in Colorado to implement the Amgen-Bruce Wallace Biotechnology Lab Program with local schools. The initial funding of $212,939 allowed FRCC to implement the program in more than 20 high schools in Adams, Boulder, Broomfield, north Denver, north Jefferson, and Larimer counties.

“With the new round of support, FRCC can expand to more high schools and introduce this technology to another 2,000 students,” said Cathy Pellish, the instructional dean at FRCC who is overseeing FRCC’s participation in the lab program. Dr. Shashi Unnithan, chair of the Natural, Applied, and Environmental Sciences Department at FRCC’s Larimer Campus in Fort Collins, is the state director for the Amgen-Bruce Wallace Biotechnology Lab Program.

The next teacher training will take place in January. Pellish recommended science teachers and school administrators contact FRCC site coordinators for more information:

“I want to thank the Amgen Foundation for continuing this successful partnership,” said FRCC President Andrew Dorsey. “As we expand our program, we hope to engage more high school students in biotechnology education to prepare them for college success and possible careers in this field that is so important to our region’s economy.”

“We are pleased that the Amgen Foundation has approved the grant to continue the Amgen-Bruce Wallace Program in Colorado,” said Kerry Ingalls, vice president of site operations for Amgen’s Longmont and Boulder facilities. “The program provides teachers and students with a hands-on, inquiry-based, molecular biology curriculum following many of the steps biotechnology researchers use to produce medicines.”


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About Front Range Community College

FRCC offers nearly 100 degree and certificate programs from locations in Boulder County, Larimer County, Westminster, and Brighton, and online.

FRCC is a member of the Colorado Community College System, the state’s largest system of higher education serving more than 151,000 students annually. CCCS oversees career and academic programs in the 13 community colleges in Colorado and career and technical programs in more than 160 school districts and seven other post-secondary institutions.

About the Amgen Foundation

The Amgen Foundation seeks to advance science education, improve quality of care and access for patients, and support resources that create sound communities where Amgen staff members live and work. Launched in 1991, the Foundation is an integral component of Amgen’s commitment to dramatically improve people’s lives. To date, the Foundation has contributed more than $160 million to nonprofit organizations across the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe that align with the Foundation’s mission.

About the author:

John Feeley is director of public relations at Front Range Community College. He’s a retired soccer referee and newspaper editor whose subscription ran out.