Students find medicine’s future ‘just down the road’


Rotary sponsored trip highlights nearby bio-science opportunities

By Nicholas Elmes - nelmes@civitasmedia.com



Students look at a research poster at Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine.


Students learn about the bio-sciences possibilities at Forsyth Tech.


Students get a tour of the Forsyth Tech bio-sciences lab.


Lab Operations Manager Thomas Eaton talks to students at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine


Tour guide and intern Susan Zhao shows students a pig kidney which has had all cells removed from it to form a scaffold.


Students look at a scaffold for a new organ.


A scaffold for an ear printed using a 3D printer.


Students watch a bio-engineered membrane get stress testing.


Forsyth Tech to Open Multidisciplinary Science Lab 7 Days a Week to Meet Students’ Scheduling Needs

Forsyth Tech students enrolled in Biology, Chemistry, Anatomy, Physiology and Biotechnology courses will soon have more flexibility to fulfill required science lab classes. Beginning January 7, 2016, the college’s state-of-the-art Science Skills Lab (SSL) will extend its hours of operation to between nine and 14 hours a day, seven days a week, with instructors on hand to assist students whenever the lab is open. The lab is the first of its kind in the country to operate on such a broad scale in higher education, including two- and four-year schools, according to Michael Ayers, dean of the Math, Science and Technologies division.

The SSL is located in the Oak Grove Center, Room 2539, on the college’s Main Campus, 2100 Silas Creek Parkway.

The SSL, which first opened in the fall of 2013, was funded by a $15 million Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant made to Forsyth Tech by the U.S. Department of Labor. Since then, enrollment has increased each semester. More than 600 students, including many from surrounding counties and other schools, have enrolled in the lab, which allows students to complete projects at their convenience.

The lab’s flexible hours and multidisciplinary offerings have already proven so popular that Forsyth Tech has decided to continue funding the lab’s expanded schedule after the TAACCCT grant ends next year.

In addition to giving students the flexibility to schedule a science lab around their personal and work schedules, students save money, too: course materials related to the lab are available online and free of charge. Students are also allowed to complete more than one lab in a day, saving them time and money in transportation costs.

“Our students are often juggling one or two jobs and family commitments while attending Forsyth Tech,” says Ayers. “Many of them have told us they would not be able to take science classes with labs were it not for the flexibility they have with the SSL. This feedback is what led us to the decision to expand the lab’s accessibility for our students.”

Local employers like it, too, because employees can upgrade their skills, further their education and take advantage of professional development opportunities after their work day ends—and sometimes during work hours.

“This is the future for science labs,” Ayers says. “Flexibility and accessibility are the names of the game going forward when it comes to training and educating our growing bioscience workforce.”

Starting in January 2016, the SSL will be open according to the following schedule:

* Monday/Tuesday: 8 am – 10 pm

* Wednesday: 7 am – 9 pm

* Thursday: 8 am – 9 pm

* Friday: 7 am – 8 pm

* Saturday/Sunday: 8 am – 5 pm

To hear student testimonials about the SSL, click on the video at: https://www.forsythtech.edu/scienceskillslab/

Forsyth Tech’s spring semester begins on Thursday, January 7, 2016. Students interested in taking bioscience classes and labs are encouraged to apply to the college as soon as possible. For more information, contact Tami Sappenfield at 336.734.7677 or tsappenfield@forsythtech.edu.

County high schools students interested in a future in medicine recently got a chance to see some of the world’s top advancements thanks to a King Rotary Club program.

For the past two years the King Rotary Club has been sponsoring a job shadowing day for county high school students to highlight the job opportunities in the county.

“This year we wanted to find a way to expose students to new and emerging careers,” said Sue Jarvis who spearheads the program. “We want to hopefully keep talent in the Stokes County area. So we started thinking about the biotech field that was down in Winston-Salem and decided to target the science classes in all of the high schools.”

The result was a day of touring high-security facilities where some of the most cutting-edge advancements in tissue regeneration and organ transplants is being done coupled with a discussion of how local students can find a pathway to those careers through Forsyth Tech.

In mid-December, 53 students got a chance to visit the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, who’s scientists were the first in the world to successfully implant a laboratory-grown organ into humans and are today working to grow more than 30 different organs and tissues in the laboratory.

“We work on loss of tissue function,” said Lab Operations Manager Thomas Eaton. “That loss can come from a variety of things like birth defects, diseases like cancer, car accidents or battlefield injuries. We, as a society, have gotten pretty good at transplants, but the problem is there is a growing gap between the number of people who need transplants and the number of organs available for them.”

He said the institute was broken into a number of core labs which allowed them to bring people with expertise from a variety of fields together to work on a variety of projects, including creating organs from scratch.

That process involves creating a structure, called a scaffold, to grow cells from the patients on to create a new organ.

“The process takes about four to six weeks,” said Eaton. “We do a lot of artificial scaffolds which we print with a 3-d printer. We can also use natural scaffolds. We can take a pig liver and remove everything but the collagen so we have the structure you need to grow cells on.

“We are also looking at biochips which can be used to test things like toxicology without having to go through the normal long process of testing on animals,” he added.

After that introduction the students had a chance to tour the labs and see the multi-million dollar equipment used in the process.

Tour guide and intern Susan Zhao told students that security and a sterile facility was a key aspect of the institute.

“We do not want to give any doctors or hospitals material unless we know it is completely sterile,” she said. “The last thing we want is for someone to get an infection from the transplant tissue.

Zhao showed the students how organs can be de-cellurized to create organic scaffolds and said they could also print the scaffolds using a mixture of natural and synthetic materials.

Following the tour of that facility the students moved several blocks up the street to the new Forsyth Tech bio-science labs at 525@vine where they learned about the variety of jobs available in bio-sciences and had a chance to ask about how they could follow an educational path to get those jobs.

West Stokes High School chemistry and physics teacher Leah Bishop said the trip was a great opportunity for her students.

“Being exposed to things like this gives them a chance to be exposed to future careers,” she said. “I think it is priceless for them.”

She noted that it was wonderful seeing research posters done by top scientists because it reinforced the processes she taught in her own classes.

“It is great that our kids can see what is in their back yard and learn about the opportunities like the partnerships that are happening here,” agreed West Stokes High School Principal Kevin Spainhour. “It is real science. The Rotarians have really provided a great opportunity.”

But Jarvis said that while the Rotary Club provided funding for the trip through a grant, Stokes County Schools Career Development and Internship Coordinator David Martin and Forsyth Tech Stokes County Operations Director Ann Watts had been integral in making the trip a reality.

“I wanted the students to know there was an opportunity for them right down the road,” said Martin. “Rotary jumped in and helped with the cost of the travel and substitutes and Forsyth Tech jumped in and helped create the itinerary.”

He noted that the trip helped not only the students who got to go, but also those who did not.

“They can carry their experience back to other students,” said Martin. “They can show them what we have just down the road.”

He said he had provided students with a short survey following the visit offering more information for those who might want to pursue a similar career.

“From there we will go with the juniors and look at further trips or possible job shadowing,” said Martin. “For the seniors it will have to happen pretty quick , but we will help any of them interested in pursuing bio-sciences further.”

Watts noted that Forsyth Tech was a great place to find those career pathways.

“We have biotechnology degrees and we have nanotechnology degrees as well,” she said. “We have lots of pathways for students.”

Nicholas Elmes may be reached at 336-591-8191 or on Twitter @NicholasElmes.

Students look at a research poster at Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
http://thestokesnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/web1_20151211_105905.jpgStudents look at a research poster at Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

Students learn about the bio-sciences possibilities at Forsyth Tech.
http://thestokesnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/web1_20151211_122021.jpgStudents learn about the bio-sciences possibilities at Forsyth Tech.

Students get a tour of the Forsyth Tech bio-sciences lab.
http://thestokesnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/web1_20151211_130838.jpgStudents get a tour of the Forsyth Tech bio-sciences lab.

Lab Operations Manager Thomas Eaton talks to students at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine
http://thestokesnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/web1_20151211_092834.jpgLab Operations Manager Thomas Eaton talks to students at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine

Tour guide and intern Susan Zhao shows students a pig kidney which has had all cells removed from it to form a scaffold.
http://thestokesnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/web1_20151211_103204.jpgTour guide and intern Susan Zhao shows students a pig kidney which has had all cells removed from it to form a scaffold.

Students look at a scaffold for a new organ.
http://thestokesnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/web1_20151211_103421.jpgStudents look at a scaffold for a new organ.

A scaffold for an ear printed using a 3D printer.
http://thestokesnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/web1_20151211_103443.jpgA scaffold for an ear printed using a 3D printer.

Students watch a bio-engineered membrane get stress testing.
http://thestokesnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/web1_20151211_103803.jpgStudents watch a bio-engineered membrane get stress testing.
Rotary sponsored trip highlights nearby bio-science opportunities

By Nicholas Elmes

nelmes@civitasmedia.com

Forsyth Tech to Open Multidisciplinary Science Lab 7 Days a Week to Meet Students’ Scheduling Needs

Forsyth Tech students enrolled in Biology, Chemistry, Anatomy, Physiology and Biotechnology courses will soon have more flexibility to fulfill required science lab classes. Beginning January 7, 2016, the college’s state-of-the-art Science Skills Lab (SSL) will extend its hours of operation to between nine and 14 hours a day, seven days a week, with instructors on hand to assist students whenever the lab is open. The lab is the first of its kind in the country to operate on such a broad scale in higher education, including two- and four-year schools, according to Michael Ayers, dean of the Math, Science and Technologies division.

The SSL is located in the Oak Grove Center, Room 2539, on the college’s Main Campus, 2100 Silas Creek Parkway.

The SSL, which first opened in the fall of 2013, was funded by a $15 million Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant made to Forsyth Tech by the U.S. Department of Labor. Since then, enrollment has increased each semester. More than 600 students, including many from surrounding counties and other schools, have enrolled in the lab, which allows students to complete projects at their convenience.

The lab’s flexible hours and multidisciplinary offerings have already proven so popular that Forsyth Tech has decided to continue funding the lab’s expanded schedule after the TAACCCT grant ends next year.

In addition to giving students the flexibility to schedule a science lab around their personal and work schedules, students save money, too: course materials related to the lab are available online and free of charge. Students are also allowed to complete more than one lab in a day, saving them time and money in transportation costs.

“Our students are often juggling one or two jobs and family commitments while attending Forsyth Tech,” says Ayers. “Many of them have told us they would not be able to take science classes with labs were it not for the flexibility they have with the SSL. This feedback is what led us to the decision to expand the lab’s accessibility for our students.”

Local employers like it, too, because employees can upgrade their skills, further their education and take advantage of professional development opportunities after their work day ends—and sometimes during work hours.

“This is the future for science labs,” Ayers says. “Flexibility and accessibility are the names of the game going forward when it comes to training and educating our growing bioscience workforce.”

Starting in January 2016, the SSL will be open according to the following schedule:

* Monday/Tuesday: 8 am – 10 pm

* Wednesday: 7 am – 9 pm

* Thursday: 8 am – 9 pm

* Friday: 7 am – 8 pm

* Saturday/Sunday: 8 am – 5 pm

To hear student testimonials about the SSL, click on the video at: https://www.forsythtech.edu/scienceskillslab/

Forsyth Tech’s spring semester begins on Thursday, January 7, 2016. Students interested in taking bioscience classes and labs are encouraged to apply to the college as soon as possible. For more information, contact Tami Sappenfield at 336.734.7677 or tsappenfield@forsythtech.edu.

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