NOVA receives NSF grant for biotechnology program
The National Science
Foundation has awarded $190,949 to Northern Virginia Community College to strengthen
and enhance the college’s biotechnology program. The grant will support a
project titled “Establishing NOVA as a Regional Leader in Biotechnology
Education and Training” under the direction of Program Head Dr. Johanna Weiss
and Assistant Professor Dr. Ia Gomez at the Manassas Campus.
“NOVA’s biotech program is designed to produce skilled workers to fill a critical need in the local workforce,” Gomez said. “This grant will give us extra tools to make sure our graduates have the knowledge and training employers want.”
The grant will provide support for improving the biotechnology program in four areas: internal recruiting of NOVA students into the biotechnology program, retention and graduation efforts, placing students into jobs or transfer programs, and assessment and evaluation of student success.
To increase awareness of the program within NOVA, biotechnology exercises will be introduced into general biology courses at several campuses, accompanied by appropriate faculty training. An internal advisory board will be created to help promote the program and improve student retention.
An external industry advisory board has been established to ensure the curriculum meets employer needs and a survey of potential employers will be conducted to determine educational and skill set requirements for entry-level positions. To improve job placement, a formal internship program will be created and new courses on quality control, bioinformatics, microbiology and bio-manufacturing will be added. An internal advisory board is also being established to help promote the biotechnology program and enhance retention of students who are recruited into the program. Work will continue on articulation agreements with four-year institutions to provide easy transfer options for students who want to continue their educations.
NOVA offers an associate degree in biotechnology and a career studies certificate for biotechnology lab technicians. To learn more, go to http://www.nvcc.edu/manassas/biotech/ or contact Dr. Ia Gomez at email@example.com or Dr. Johanna Weiss at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America’s largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through the Extended Learning Institute. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College’s website, www.nvcc.edu.