Harford Community College is the recipient of a National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technological Education (ATE) grant for its “Building Interest and Opportunities Through Engagement and Collaborative (BIOTEC) Pathways” program within the College’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Division. The $493,912 grant will create pathways for future biotechnicians as students progress from Harford County Public Schools (HCPS) to pursuing an associate of science degree at Harford Community College. HCC graduates can transition directly to a biotechnology career or transfer to a four-year institution.

The BIOTEC Pathways program will include the creation of an articulation agreement with the University of Maryland Baltimore County - Shady Grove and partnerships with biotechnology employers in Maryland to facilitate job placement for graduates. The grant will fund salaries for HCC students placed in summer internships with biotechnology employers during their academic program.

Funding will begin in September 2020 and will enable the HCC team to develop workshops and summer institutes for high school students and their families, as well as a teaching academy for secondary STEM educators from HCPS. High school personnel will assist with awareness and recruitment of students into the program. As a step towards diversifying the biotechnology workforce, HCC’s collaboration with the public schools will place special emphasis on recruiting underrepresented minority students in STEM.

“STEM education is crucial to the success of our students and our economy, and this grant will support the innovative pathway Harford Community College is building for students pursuing careers in biotechnology. That path, which begins in Harford County Public Schools and ends with job placement, helps students achieve their dreams and supports a vibrant, high-tech workforce,” said U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen.

“We are excited to receive this support from the NSF that will provide opportunities for the College to work with Harford County Public Schools’ students, teachers, and parents and provide a much-needed entry point into our biotechnology associate degree,” added Dr. Jacqueline Jackson, Interim President of Harford Community College.

The BIOTEC Pathways team, led by Associate Professor Jackie Madden, includes Dean Pamela Pape-Lindstrom, Ph.D.; Assistant Professor Susan Walker, Ph.D.; Assistant Professor Breonna Martin; and evaluators from the National Institute for STEM Evaluation and Research (NISER). “The expertise of our faculty, together with the equipment this grant will enable us to purchase, will result in a world-class educational experience in biotechnology for Harford County residents,” Dean Pape-Lindstrom said.

Several industry representatives will serve on the program’s advisory board to assist in curriculum development and provide important career insight and internships to students enrolled in this program. Industry partners include Dr. James Dillman, Director of Research at USAMRICD; Dr. Mina Izadjoo, President and Chief Science Officer of Integrated Pharma Services; Dr. Nina Lamba, Assistant Director of the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology; and Greg Merril, CEO of Adaptive Phage Therapeutics. Other members of the advisory board include John Casner, Executive Director of the Northeastern Maryland Technology Council; Dr. Linnea Fletcher, Co-PI of the InnovATEBIO National Biotechnology Education Center; Dr. Annica Wayman, Associate Dean for Shady Grove Affairs, Natural and Mathematical Sciences at UMBC; and Andrew Renzulli, Supervisor of Science at Harford County Public Schools.

HCC Professor Jackie Madden commented, “The rapid expansion and importance of the biotechnology industry, as evidenced in part by their role in the response to the current COVID-19 pandemic, has resulted in the need for skilled biotechnicians. HCC’s BIOTEC Pathways program will provide outreach and education related to biotechnology career opportunities to HCPS students, families, and teachers. In addition, the new biotechnology degree program will provide the training necessary for Harford County residents to secure jobs in the growing biotechnology sector in Maryland.” To learn more about this new program, contact