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Biogen Idec Foundation Awards $250,000 to Develop Genetics Education Program

Published: Friday, May 17, 2013
Last Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013
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GenoExplorers seeks to introduce middle school students to genetics concepts through interactive learning.

The Biogen Idec Foundation announced a $250,000 grant to East End House to develop, implement and evaluate an interactive out-of-school-time (OST) genetics program for middle school youth in Cambridge. The new program, known as GenoExplorers, will offer hands-on experiments, collaboration with local scientists and field trips that aim to introduce youth to the science of genetics. The program will include a visit to the Biogen Idec Community Lab, a state-of-the-art classroom offering a real-world laboratory experience for teachers and students where they can interact with Biogen Idec scientists and conduct engaging experiments using cutting-edge technology. The program will initially reach approximately 150 students.

This grant underscores the commitment of the Biogen Idec Foundation to contribute to the vitality of the Cambridge community, with an emphasis on innovative ways to promote science literacy and encourage young people to consider scientific careers. Funds will enhance and expand East End House’s award-winning curriculum and advance its research about the efficacy of community-based organizations for providing OST experiences in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The Biogen Idec Foundation has been partnering with East End House on STEM programming as well as family support services for more than 10 years. The Foundation’s support has included funding, collaboration on curriculum development and opportunities to partner with Biogen Idec employee volunteers.

“The Biogen Idec Foundation and East End House share an ongoing commitment to STEM education in our community through innovative programming,” said Tony Kingsley, Chairman, Biogen Idec Foundation. “The GenoExplorers program will help engage youth through extensive hands-on learning and experimentation, encourage long-term educational curiosity and advancement, and ultimately inspire our next generation of STEM leaders to pursue their passions and succeed.”

“We know that community centers are powerful partners in shaping the lives of young people,” said Michael Delia, East End House President and CEO. “GenoExplorers will impact youth right here in Cambridge, and it will also engage other community-based organizations nationwide in the effort to prepare youth with STEM skills for the 21st century workforce.”

The program, which will officially launch this fall, will ultimately last four hours per week for 35 weeks during the school year, and nine hours per week for four weeks during the summer. The goal is to expand the program to additional centers in the coming years, creating a national OST program.

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