Spark! Bioscience sector alters between professional development and lab skills days, each one depending on the intended daily focus. Professional development days consist of researching a company as a class, learning how to make connections in the bioscience industry, developing portfolios or listening to a guest speaker. Lab skill days are spent debriefing about procedures before carrying them out in the lab. Senior Sreehitha Anugu has benefited from this cycle of learning.
“The variety we have in each class makes it engaging and interactive,” Anugu said. “My favorite activity was when we went to visit Bayer’s Chesterfield location last semester. Bayer is one of the companies I was looking into working for in the future, so I was excited to tour their facilities.”
During the tour of Bayer, students were shown various greenhouses, maker spaces and plant chambers while receiving a rundown of the company’s history, goals and current projects. Each room tour simulated another country or biome’s specific climate and conditions.
“[Another activity we did] was growing bacteria from our chosen places. It was interesting to see what kind of stuff grows in our mouths and how surprisingly clean a toilet seat can be,” Anugu said.
Beyond studying all different biospheres at Bayer and examining cadavers at Logan University, Spark! supplies students with connections to set them up for success down the road. The bioscience strand location, BRDG Park, is also used by STLCC, allowing students to learn about opportunities after high school through representatives. Spark! introduced Anugu to STLCC’s EMBARK program.
“[Through EMBARK,] I take classes at an STLCC location during Spark! time to earn the Life Science Lab Assistant Certificate,” Anugu said. “I can earn my certification after finishing the bio class I am currently enrolled in through STLCC and then later use it to apply for internships.”
Along with providing connections, senior Clayton Kayira believes the program grows personal skills that can be used in their educational journey.
“A day in my life at Spark! [typically consists of] independent work. This work is usually completing weekly checklists we make to keep us in check with professional areas. Spark! has taught me how to be organized with what I need to do,” Kayira said. “I use this to my advantage at school by keeping a list of what needs to be done during the week and following through [with it]. It may be simple, but it is very helpful to me.”