Amgen Biotech Experience

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I am indebted to the Amgen Biotech Experience for enabling me, over all of these many years, to always prepare my students to be competitive, prepared and inspired in the field of science through their experiences with ABE. I could not provide this opportunity to my students without this program.—High school teacher who has participated in ABE for 25 years

Program Type

Curriculum/Instructional Materials
Teacher Development/Training
Hands on/Project-Based
College Readiness

Target Audience

All Students

Females

Low Socio-Economic Status

Teachers/Educational Leaders

Location

Nationwide
California
Colorado
District of Columbia
Massachusetts
Washington
Puerto Rico

Grades

Grades 9 - 12

 Accomplished link

Program Impact

Over the last 25 years, ABE’s reach has been extraordinary. To date, ABE has engaged over 500,000 students in hands-on biotechnology learning using the same equipment used in research labs at world-class research institutions and in industry. ABE is sustained at sites, becomes rooted in schools, and has produced cadres of expert ABE teachers who continue to participate over time. Two pilot studies conducted by WestEd, the ABE program’s evaluator, indicate that exposure to ABE increases student knowledge and skills in biotechnology. A larger, program-wide student assessment study is currently underway to strengthen program-wide statements of student learning and interest.

 

Program Overview

The Amgen Biotech Experience (ABE) is an innovative, effective, and scalable science education program that provides teacher professional development, curriculum materials, and research-grade equipment and supplies to high schools, completely free of charge.

Funded by the Amgen Foundation with direction and technical assistance provided by Education Development Center (EDC), the program features a hands-on molecular biology curriculum designed to introduce students to the excitement of scientific discovery and to the processes used to make human therapeutics.

The ABE program continues to develop to meet the increasingly rigorous demands for science education in the U.S. and to play a key role in sparking students’ interest in science and STEM careers. Each year, more than 75,000 students and nearly 1,000 science teachers participate in this program and have the opportunity to explore the methods scientists use to create biotechnology medicines.

Demand for the ABE program and its approach to engaging students in real-world science learning is very high. Even when the program is not available locally to provide equipment to teachers, teachers from across the U.S. travel at their own expense to participate in ABE professional development to learn about biotechnology and bring this knowledge back to their students.  

How To Get Involved

Opportunities exist both in current ABE communities and in areas where the program is not supported currently. Corporate supporters can provide funding to existing ABE program sites to expand their reach to additional schools, purchase a suite of equipment that can be housed in or used to target particular school districts (approx. $15-20K), or provide connections to industry (by having employees speak to teachers and students about their work or inviting them to visit). Corporate supporters can also provide funding to bring ABE to new communities; the cost to maintain an ABE program site is approx. $100K per year. 

Funders and Partners

Major funder: Amgen Foundation
Program partners: Biotium, Embitec, miniPCR, New England BioLabs, San Diego Workforce Partnership, Inc., Thermo Fisher Scientific

Contacts

Rebecca Lewis, Director, ABE Program Office
rlewis@edc.org
617-618-2935

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Design Principles

The programs in this database clear a high bar. STEMworks reviewed each program against CTEq's Design Principles for Effective STEM Philanthropy.

  • Accomplished
  • Developing
  • Undeveloped

Overarching Principles

  • Need

    Identify and target a compelling and well-defined need.

  • Evaluation

    Use rigorous evaluation to continuously measure and inform progress towards the compelling need identified.

  • Sustainability

    Ensure work is sustainable.

  • Replication and Scalability

    Demonstrate replicability and scalability.

  • Partnerships

    Create high impact partnerships

  • Capacity

    Ensure organizational capacity to achieve goals.

STEM Principles

  • Challenging and Relevant Content

    Offer challenging and relevant STEM content for the target audience

  • STEM Practices

    Incorporate and encourage STEM practices.

  • Inspiration

    Inspire interest and engagement in STEM.

  • Under-Represented Groups

    Identify and address the needs of under-represented groups.