Campus News

Bethel launches new biotechnology certificate program

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Bethel College has initiated a program to train people interested in a career in science. It is intended to prepare them for the first day in the workplace, specifically in the lab. The course lasts three semesters over the span of nine months. The first two semesters will be spent reviewing techniques in the lab while the final semester will be an internship at one of the local businesses that has partnered with Bethel for the creation of this program. “This fulfills a vital need in the community,” said biochemist Pamela Sefancic. Sefancic is employed by Sieman Healthcare and is a member of the program’s advisory board. Dr. Malcolm Fraser is also a member of the advisory board. “I work with Craig Biocraft Labs and there’s a growing need for a base of students who have general lab skills,” he said. Bethel College Associate Professor of Biochemistry Dr. Lynne Cary is the director of the program and has worked alongside several other healthcare businesses in northern Indiana in order to help Bethel students find jobs when they graduate. “The lab work at school doesn’t really have the same kind of training needed in a research lab,” said adjunct professor of biochemistry Cordelia Tomasino when asked why the program was started. “I’ve worked with Lynne (Cary) with the recruits and we hear all the time that ‘we weren’t prepared for this.’” Cary received the money to fund the program through a Lilly grant that was approved in November 2013. Once the Higher Learning Commission authorized the curriculum, Cary finalized the details of the program. Bethel College is also working with Ivy Tech Community College to help put the program together. There are 16 slots available for students from Bethel and Ivy Tech for the January 2015 semester and the classes will be held in a lab in the Middleton Hall of Science on Bethel’s campus. “There is no other program like this in Northern Indiana,” said Toni Pauls, vice president for adult and graduate studies and Cary’s partner for this project. Cary based her program on Ball State University’s master’s program which is only available in Muncie, Indiana. “It’s a deliberate community effort,” said Cary. “No one has the time to train entry-level positions. That’s why Bethel is committed to leading students to jobs.” Cary said that there is a potential for another grant but they are currently unsure. The goal of the program and any future endeavors is to raise awareness among students of their career options. “God puts us here to help people and that’s important,” said Cary. “God has cleared the path. Bethel and I are doing what we are supposed to be doing, and that’s obliging him.”  
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