Lab's Office of Educational Programs Helps Build Long Island's Future High-Tech Workforce

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During a structural biology workshop teachers set up trays for crystallization of proteins.

On November 3, 500 local teachers participated in a professional development day, attending workshops at 10 science and technology locations across Long Island as part of a Long Island STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) Hub event. Eighty of the teachers visited Brookhaven Lab, participated in hands-on workshops and visited the Lab’s state-of-the-art research facilities. After a brief Lab overview and welcoming address by John Carter of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven Site Office, the visitors also had the opportunity to listen to a keynote talk by Lab researcher Thomas Butcher, who works on energy technologies.

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During the Long Island barcode workshop, teachers prepared samples for gel electrophoresis, a process that allows them to visualize polymerase chain reaction results. This is just one step toward DNA sequencing that would help identify organisms at a molecular level.

The hands-on workshops focused on alternative energy technologies, accelerator physics, structural biology, scientific computation, genetic barcoding, and astronomy. The workshops were customized to build awareness about science and industries that are important to Long Island’s economy. They also examined the role STEM plays in the success of these industries, and how teachers are the champions who can incorporate these research topics into their curriculums, helping to build a workforce for high-tech jobs that drive the Long Island economy.

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At the alternative energy workshop, teachers use corn to make ethanol by adding enzymes that help break down the complex sugars to simple sugars. Yeast is then added for the conversion of sugar to ethanol.

The Long Island STEM Hub is one of ten hubs formed in New York State as part of the SUNY-led Empire State STEM Learning Network.

For more information on Long Island STEM Hub:

Tags: education

2015-6057  |  INT/EXT  |  Newsroom