America is experiencing great growth in medical technology, innovation and biomedical careers. To prepare its students for jobs in these growing areas, the Baldwinsville Central School District (BCSD) began offering a biomedical sciences program this school year. The program prepares students for the postsecondary education and training they will need to pursue a variety of careers including physician, nurse and pharmaceutical researcher.
The district's biomedical sciences program is a four-year, four-course sequence and is part of the district's Project Lead the Way (PLTW) program. PLTW is a national organization and the nation's leading provider of rigorous and innovative STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education.
BCSD is one of only four in New York State to offer the PLTW biomedical sciences program. There are 47 Baldwinsville students enrolled in the program this year. The course was made possible with a grant secured for the district by Assemblyman William Magnarelli.
Students begin the program in ninth-grade at Durgee Junior High School with the principles of biomedical sciences course, taught by teacher Sherri Wineland. There are some 10th-graders also taking the course since this is the first year the district is offering the program.
"The country has a perfect storm of conditions for students interested in pursuing a career in the biomedical sciences," said Wineland. She noted that an aging population, longer life expectancy and the country's boom in technology are creating opportunities for individuals interested in science and medicine.
Most of Wineland's students enrolled in the program because they like science and are interested in pursuing a career in healthcare. Ninth-grader Katherine Schumacher has a personal reason for taking the class. Her grandfather's battle with the neurodegenerative disease ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease, and his subsequent death, are motivating her to study neurology. "I want to find a cure for ALS," she said. She hopes to attend an ivy league college before enrolling in medical school to pursue a career as a neurologist.