THOUSAND OAKS, Calif., Aug. 24, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- The Amgen Foundation today announced it will expand the Amgen Biotech Experience (ABE) to reach nearly 900,000 high school students by 2020. For nearly 30 years, ABE has empowered high school science teachers to implement real-world biotechnology labs in their classrooms to help their students better understand science and how it influences their daily lives. The three-week in-class lab initiative provides teachers with professional development, teaching materials and research-grade equipment to immerse students in the concepts and techniques scientists use to discover and develop medicines.
The Foundation will invest an additional $10.5 million to engage nearly 300,000 students over the next three years, adding to the 600,000 students who have already participated in ABE. The Amgen Foundation's total past and current commitment to ABE now reaches more than $25 million, bringing the Foundation's total commitment to STEM education to more than $125 million globally.
"For many years, we have observed how the Amgen Biotech Experience brings science to life for students and teachers. We're excited to build on the program's proven success and bring hands-on science education to even more students, educators and communities," said Sean E. Harper, M.D., executive vice president of Research and Development at Amgen. "Inspiring scientific curiosity in students is key to strengthening the science talent pipeline."
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; and
- 53 percent of students report increased interest in science careers from ABE participation.
Separately, Change the Equation, a coalition working to improve science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) literacy, 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.
"Frankly, we're not surprised to see gains in learning and interest levels in biotechnology as a result of ABE because we have witnessed the increased excitement, confidence and enjoyment in the classroom," said David Offensend, president and CEO of Education Development Center, which manages the ABE program for the Amgen Foundation. "This program gets students excited about science and helps them imagine themselves in future roles tackling complex diseases and improving human health. We're excited that our partners will now reach even more young people."
The ABE program will launch in nine new markets: Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, Italy, Netherlands and Singapore. The program will continue in key markets in the United States, Puerto Rico, United Kingdom and Ireland, where Amgen has longstanding partnerships with distinguished research institutions and leading education nonprofits. This expansion brings the program's total reach to 18 markets.
"Through ABE, my students get to experience the joy of discovery first-hand," said Wendy Wooten, biology teacher at Reseda High School and longtime ABE participant. "They transform living cells into protein factories, and see whether or not they succeeded in the endeavor. They get to be real life scientists."
About the Amgen Foundation
The Amgen Foundation seeks to advance excellence in science education to inspire the next generation of innovators, and invest in strengthening communities where Amgen staff members live and work. To date, the Foundation has donated over $250 million to local, regional, and international nonprofit organizations that impact society in inspiring and innovative ways. The Amgen Foundation brings the excitement of discovery to the scientists of tomorrow through several signature programs, including Amgen Scholars, Amgen Biotech Experience, and Amgen Teach. For more information, visit www.AmgenInspires.com and follow us on Twitter @AmgenFoundation.
CONTACT: Amgen, Thousand Oaks
Jennifer van der Borgt, 805-447-5597 (Media)