Two high school students stand near a lab incubator


A new high school course in introductory biotechnology was developed with support from a seed funding grant from NH BioMade, an NSF EPSCoR Track-1 project led by the University of New Hampshire. Such grants to K-12 teachers and community college faculty for course development are one component of the NH BioMade seed funding program.


New Hampshire has a growing biotechnology industry, but employers are having difficulty finding trained workers. Expanding this capacity is a key objective of NH BioMade. The new high school course was developed as a model for other high schools and community colleges and to create a diverse workforce pipeline.


Kyle Plante, a high school science teacher at Pinkerton Academy in Derry, NH, created an Introduction to Biotechnology course in 2021 with seed funding from the New Hampshire Center for Multiscale Modeling and Manufacturing of Biomaterials (NH BioMade). The course was developed around four quality performance assessments (QPAs), which are central topics in biotechnology: 1) biochemistry, 2) cell culture, 3) genetic transformation, and 4) a practical application of a societal problem that lends itself to bioengineering solutions. Thirty-two students successfully completed the class this year; 21 identified as female and nine are from underrepresented minorities.

Based on student feedback and requests to have more time to work on their experiments, the Introduction to Biotechnology course was a success and is being redesigned for the 2022-23 academic year as a semester-long class that meets every day. Forty students are scheduled to take the course next year. In response to student requests, a Biotechnology II course is under review at the high school, as well as potential partners at community colleges and other higher education institutions.

NH BioMade is an NSF EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement Track-1 project (#1757371).

Written by: Kyle Plante, Pinkerton Academy; Denise Blaha, NH EPSCoR
Photos: Kyle Plante, Pinkerton Academy