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Every year students in the Puget Sound area gather together at the Biotech Expo to celebrate the life sciences and compete for prizes. Although their projects are diverse in nature, they compete in categories like research, art, journalism, drama, music, and others, all the students learn about science as part of their work.

You can help a high school student learn about science by being a mentor for the Biotech Expo. It is especially helpful to students if they can bounce questions off of a real-live person who works in a scientific field.

The Northwest Association for Biomedical Research is currently recruiting mentors, judges, and readers for this year’s expo. About 300 students from 15-20 high schools in WA State participate in this event. Most schools are in the greater Seattle/Bellevue area with one from Eastern WA.

Who is needed?:
Mentors, Judges, and Readers for the 2009 Student Bio Expo. We are always in need of more professionals who work in the scientific community to serve as mentors or judges for this event. You need not be a ‘bench scientist’ – but it is best if your work relates to or supports scientific research, biotechnology or biomedicine. You do not need to be an ‘expert’ in the area your mentee does their project on. Expertise in the arts, music, teaching, web design, and writing is also greatly valued.

What kind of time commitment is involved?:

NWABR works hard to make mentoring possible, even for busy professionals. So there are two levels:

Mentor Level 1: You agree to have at least one in-person meeting with your student and read your student’s project outline and rough draft. (A phone meeting can take place in lieu of an in-person meeting due to geographical limitations.) If you and your student mutually agree, you can increase your level of commitment over the minimum.

Mentor Level 2: This is the same as level 1 with more in-depth communication including a possible site visit, job shadow or more. We are also looking for Lab Research mentors so be sure to let us know when you sign up if you are available to assist in this category.

Focus Program: In order to support students with limited resources and/or ability to travel, we have initiated a ‘Focus’ program for students at Garfield and Cleveland High Schools in the Seattle School District. We are seeking scientists to commit to visiting a small group of students five (5) or more times over the course of the school year at the school site.

Please indicate on the sign-up form if you would like to be involved in the Focus program! Please be aware these students face additional challenges at school and home. An ability to handle sensitive and confidential information is required. Placement as a focus program mentor is contingent on student need and the discretion of the mentor coordinator.

And judges are needed too!

Judges – Review projects prior to the Expo, attend a pre-judging session on May 21, 2009 from 4-6 PM, and attend the Expo and interview students on May 27th from 8 AM – 2 PM.

Please join by signing-up online at:
www.nwabr.org/studentbiotech/advisors/advisor_info.html.

If you are not familiar with the Expo, you can learn more here: www.nwabr.org/studentbiotech

or watch this wonderful video.