HudsonAlpha Kicks Off 2024 Summer of STEM Programs

By Lillie Mermoud

For most, summer means sunny days, family vacations, and a well-deserved break from the routine. At HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, summer is one of the most exciting times of the year as the Institute dives into its Summer of STEM programs.

The Summer of STEM is HudsonAlpha’s summer line-up of education programs, attracting hundreds of students, interns, and educators to its campus. Blending the joy of summer with the thrill of scientific exploration, these programs range from summer camps to undergraduate and graduate internships and professional development opportunities for educators.

Combining students reached in-person during on-campus programs and students reached through educators who bring lessons learned at HudsonAlpha back to their classrooms, HudsonAlpha is slated to reach nearly 10,000 students from 28 counties in Alabama and 8 states across the country over the summer of 2024.

Made possible by philanthropic support from Summer of STEM sponsors, this year’s summer educational programs will reach nearly 10,000 students

Summer of STEM Program Offerings

Today’s students are the foundation of tomorrow’s science, tech, and engineering workforces, placing a critical value on STEM education. HudsonAlpha’s Summer of STEM programs address three critical needs in STEM education: sparking a love of STEM in middle and high school children, offering workforce development opportunities to higher education students aiming for a career in STEM, and supporting STEM educators through professional learning.

Middle School and High School STEM Summer Camps

Developed for middle and high school students, HudsonAlpha’s summer camps offer hands-on experiences in genetic and genomic science in the Institute’s state-of-the-art teaching labs. Campers learn lab skills such as performing DNA extractions, designing bio-indicators, and even CRISPR gene editing techniques, all through fun and engaging lessons. Nearly 200 middle and high school students will participate in these summer camps this summer.

Summer experiences such as these help students gain confidence in STEM and kindle a love of science and contribute greatly to students’ likelihood of applying for a four-year degree and being accepted once they graduate from high school.

Undergraduate and Graduate Internships

For students who have already begun their higher education journey, HudsonAlpha offers valuable opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to intern in the Institute’s research labs and offices through the BioTrain Internship Program. Running for over 15 years, the BioTrain program has inspired hundreds of students to narrow their STEM career paths, make important connections, and learn important lab and life skills.

STEM Educator Professional Development

Investing in science educators translates to student improvements in the classroom, higher proficiency in STEM subjects, and an overall increase in critical thinking and problem-solving skills. As part of the Summer of STEM programming, HudsonAlpha hosts middle and high school science educators on campus for week-long workshops. Educators learn about genetic and genomic science, discover innovative ways of teaching these complex topics, and receive take-home materials to implement these lessons in their own classrooms. This year, 72 educators will spend a portion of their summer at HudsonAlpha, impacting over 9,000 students with the lessons they learn during these workshops when they return to their classrooms in the fall.

STEM Education Fueled by Philanthropy

STEM education is one of HudsonAlpha’s three critical mission areas, along with genomic research and economic development in the life sciences. Recognizing that summer presents a unique opportunity to inspire learners of all ages through hands-on experiences with STEM, the Institute’s Educational Outreach team has been leading summer programs for over ten years. 

As a nonprofit, HudsonAlpha depends on philanthropy to offer impactful programs like Summer of STEM. This year’s Summer of STEM programs would not be possible without support from the 2024 Summer of STEM sponsors. A huge thank you to our Summer of STEM Presenting Sponsor, Google Fiber, and all of our wonderful Summer of STEM sponsors!