DaytonMADE Camps are a Success!

November 07, 2023

UES hosted the first set of summer camps for the Dayton (bio)Manufacturing Awareness and Discovery Experience (Dayton M.A.D.E.) program in Summer 2023. This program, with funding from BioMADE, was established to increase awareness of biomanufacturing in local, underserved communities.

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The first two camps, which took place on the Wright State University campus, served a total of 23 high school students from around the Dayton area. Over each 10-day camp, students experienced a large breadth of content and activities, including: many hands-on lab activities, a communication skills workshop, a campus tour, a how to be College 101 workshop, a guest-run morning from a Miami University professor and grad students about enzymes and bioprocess scale up/down, a guest-run day on biomaterials from UES employees, a tour of a  full-scale biomanufacturing facility, and multiple guest speakers.

The camps ended with a “Demo Day” in which family and community members attended to show support for students as they presented about a technique they learned about during the camp. Highlights of the camp were shared via social media using the hashtag #DaytonMADE. Overall results were very positive, with significantly increased overall understanding of biomanufacturing careers and how to pursue relevant education by the end of the camps. In feedback surveys, the vast majority of students said they would recommend this program to other students, and in fact multiple participants inquired about partaking again next year.

Team UES members who made up the proposal and planning team included Elisabeth Steel and Stephaney Shanks from the Integrative Health and Performance Sciences (IHPS) division and Sanaz Farajollahi, Michael Carter, and Amy Breedon (PI and program lead) from the Biological and Nanoscale Technologies division. This core team developed the framework of the program. Stephaney and Amy visited partner organization Biopharmaceutical Technology Center Institute in Summer 2022 to attend a high school biotech camp as inspiration. Planning took place over the following year, including program development, logistics planning (e.g. transportation and meals), and marketing/recruitment. Additional team members brought on board included two educators, a camp coordinator, and student assistants (including former UES student employee Maddy Gruenberg). The camps also wouldn't have been a success without the key support of the IHPS division ordering and admin teams, along with other UES corporate teams including HR, contracts, and marketing.

During the camps, Amy gave the students an overview of UES and Elisabeth presented her work on biohybrid sensors using moth antennae. Elisabeth's talk was a big hit with the students, who had lots of great questions! Michael, Sanaz, and Amy also led activities on a Biomaterials day during each camp and Amy helped throughout the camps.


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With a main focus on accessibility and affordability, the camps were free to attend, students were provided free lunch and transportation, and stipends were given to participants at the end of the camps. "Providing free transportation really helps make activities like this accessible to a broader range of students", says Dr. Breedon. "This is especially true for those who are in underserved areas or don't have ready access to transportation". About half of the student participants utilized this service and it was vital to the success of the program. 

The Demo Days at the end of the camps were a great success as well. Students worked in pairs or small groups to present something that they learned about throughout the program. This included putting together a poster and using props or hands-on demos to teach the concepts or techniques to the guests. There was great turnout from both student families and community members, including folks from WSU and UES. "It was really fantastic to see the students light up and their excitement in being able to share and/or teach others about what they've learned. I also loved seeing how proud family members were and hearing about what students would share at home about their time at camp", said Dr. Breedon.

With 2023's camps under our belt, we will plan on hosting these camps again in 2024. Check out a highlight video here and keep an eye on for information about next year's camps!




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