On July 26th, we were happy to stand with New York state Assembly Members Patricia Fahy and Chris Tague, as well as senior director of advocacy and strategic alliances at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) Laura Perloff, at Albany’s Tech Valley High School, to show our support for Camp Innov@tion, a recipient of our STEM Pipeline Grant.
The middle school students at Camp Innov@tion had spent the week of July 22-26 working on projects focused on real challenges faced in the biomedical community, with the goal of creating their own solutions facilitated through hands-on experience and presentations from actual researchers in the field.
At the event, we heard from Maeve Corcoran, a rising senior at Tech Valley High and second year counselor at Camp Innov@tion:
“As a counselor, I mentor students, and make sure that everything is running on schedule.” Maeve said. On her interest in STEM, Maeve pointed to her passion for understanding people, and understanding how things really work. She expressed a specific interest in understanding how medicine can become more available for underprivileged communities, and was glad that the PhRMA grant gave Camp Innov@tion a greater opportunity to help young students explore and ultimately discover their own passions in the biomedical field.
We also heard from Assembly Members Patricia Fahy and Chris Tague, who expressed optimism, admiration, and support for the work being funded at Camp Innov@tionm as well as the adventurous, knowledge-seeking spirit of the middle school students participating. As Assemblywoman Fahy put it, “I’m proud to support Camp Innov@tion for our Capital Region students. Thanks in part to PhRMA and New York Health Works, students are encouraged to pursue their interests in the biomedical field through fun, hands-on learning experiences.”
After the speaking portion of the event, everyone was ushered into the project presentation room, where students were displaying the results from their weeklong Camp Innov@tion experience. Student projects included developing a cure for Celiac’s disease and using technology to better treat Rheumatoid Arthritis, amongst a handful of others. While mingling with the students and staff, we ended up speaking with Sarah Fiess, Coordinator of School Outreach and Data Analysis for Tech Valley High School. Sarah spoke about Camp Innov@ation with glowing praise, saying, “What we are really tapping into here is student creativity. We’re helping them find their niche, and helping them to pursue STEM-related majors. Around two-thirds of the students at the school end up going into STEM programs, which means more students entering the biopharmaceutical field in the long-term. The PhRMA grant really helps to keep costs low, which means students have more opportunity to learn and explore through field trips and field work”.
After participating in this wonderful event and seeing the sort of excitement, advocacy, and support that Camp Innov@tion brings out of community members of all ages and walks of life, we are as certain as ever that investing in the futures of young STEM students is a huge part of encouraging well-educated people to consider jobs in the pharmaceutical industry. We are proud to be contributing to the growth of STEM-related education and research in the Capital Region, and excited for what the future may bring!