April 17, 2019 – The Amgen Foundation, together with the University of South Florida (USF), today announced the launch of the Amgen Biotech Experience (ABE) program in Tampa, Florida, as part of its long-standing science education program. Globally, ABE is expected to reach nearly 900,000 secondary school students by 2020 in 20 regions around the world.
For nearly 30 years, ABE has empowered high school science teachers to implement real-world biotechnology labs in their classrooms, helping their students better understand science and how it influences their daily lives. The three-week in-class lab initiative provides teacher professional development, instruction materials, and research-grade equipment to classrooms to immerse students in the concepts and techniques scientists use to discover and develop medicines.
The Amgen Foundation’s total past and current commitment to ABE is more than $25 million, bringing the Foundation’s total commitment to STEM education to nearly $150 million globally.
“The Amgen Biotech Experience has proven its impact in communities around the world. We are excited to see how ABE will transform the learning experience and build curiosity and confidence in science for students in Tampa,” said Gwen Cummings, site lead, Amgen Capability Center. “Our goal is to ignite their interest in science and career possibilities. The scientific literacy they gain from this program will serve them well throughout their lives—that’s the value of ABE. Amgen is new to Tampa and the Amgen Foundation’s investment in the University of South Florida and Hillsborough County Public Schools is one way we are demonstrating our commitment to this vibrant community.”
Results of an independent and rigorous evaluation by WestEd found that ABE students have shown significant and substantial gains in biotechnology learning, as well as increased confidence and interest in doing science and biotechnology. Results show that:
- Students had a statistically significant increase of their biotechnology knowledge and skills (p < 0.001)
- Students averaged a 20 percent increase between pre- and post-test scores
- 82 percent of students got new ideas about what happens in science labs
- 72 percent of students got new ideas about what science is
- 53 percent of students are more interested in learning about science research
- 53 percent of students report increased interest in science careers from ABE participation
Separately, WestEd has also distinguished ABE with the highest possible ranking in STEMworks, its database of effective STEM education programs. Business leaders, funders and STEM advocates use STEMworks to find proven, scalable programs to help them maximize their impact on STEM education.
USF will serve as the program site for ABE in the Tampa area, administering the program to local high schools. “Engagement with science practices is key to improving students’ science literacy,” said Luanna Prevost, assistant professor, Integrative Biology Department, USF and ABE Tampa site director. “USF is excited to begin this partnership with the Amgen Foundation and bring this hands-on experience to local high school students and teachers.”
In the Tampa Bay area, during its initial pilot year, ABE is expected to engage students and teachers at six Hillsborough County schools during this academic year. In 2017, the Amgen Foundation announced ABE’s expansion to Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, Italy, Netherlands and Singapore. The program is already underway in multiple locations across the United States, Puerto Rico, United Kingdom and Ireland.