News

NH CREATES part of Coalition to Receive $44M Grant

NH CREATES

We’re excited to announce that Tech Camp is part of a coalition led by the City of Manchester to be awarded $44M from the U.S. Economic Development Administration as part of the Build Back Better Regional Challenge! The grant money will be used to create a biofabrication cluster in the Manchester Millyards. Our focus will be on workforce development, offering summer programs for students and teachers on the UNH Manchester campus..Read more.

NH Business Review Runs Feature on Tech Camp & NH CREATES

NH CREATES

(8/26/22) Since 2007, the University of New Hampshire has been working toward bridging the gap between education and workforce development through a program called UNH Tech Camp.

Every summer, middle and high school students visit the UNH campus in Durham to collaborate with one another through activities focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Under the UNH Tech Camp umbrella, students can take part in such programs as Techsplorers for grades 5-8, Techventurers for grades 7-10, Techleaders for grades 10-12, the Dinah Whipple STEAM Academy. In addition, there’s Tech for Teachers, for K-12 teachers. Read more.

Senator Shaheen Visits Tech Camp

NH CREATES

On July 29, 2022, NH Senator Jeanne Shaheen stopped by Tech Camp to learn more about NH CREATES, our workforce development initiative focused on regenerative medicine and biofabrication. The senator, a big advocate for STEM education, spent two hours touring our labs and engaging with students and faculty; she also spent time with participants in our Tech for Teachers Institute.

Tech Camp Goes to NIH Conference in Washington

NH CREATES

The Tech Camp team enjoyed a whirlwind trip to Washington, DC, in early June 2022 where they attended the NIH SciEd 2022 Annual Conference. This was a great opportunity to meet and learn from other Science Education Partnership Award recipients and share information on the NH CREATES initiative at UNH and the great work being done to build a skilled workforce focused on regenerative medicine and biofabrication.

Learning to Regrow Lost Body Parts

Tech Camp

This summer, middle and high school students attending UNH Tech Camp will have the unique opportunity to learn about regrowing lost body parts, freezing and storing cells, 3D bioprinting and molecular visualization – cutting-edge topics you aren’t likely to find at many other summer STEM programs.

Thanks to a five-year, $1.2 million grant awarded to UNH Tech Camp by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health (through its Science Education Partnership Award program), the popular summer youth program has expanded its already eclectic curriculum to include these and other subjects related to regenerative medicine and biofabrication. The new programs are being offered at no cost to participants and students of all STEM skill levels are welcome to attend.

“The goal is to educate middle and high school students and teachers about regenerative medicine and biofabrication  and raise awareness around career opportunities that exist in these emerging industries,” says Carmela Amato-Wierda, associate professor of materials science and faculty director of Tech Camp. “The intention is to cultivate excitement and expertise that will help address future workforce needs in New Hampshire.” Read more.

Farmington Students Explore Possible Role of Spinach in Regenerating Human Heart Tissue

NH CREATES

Students in Shannon McCracken-Barber’s Introduction to STEAM class at Farmington Senior High School engaged in a unique project this fall that simulates groundbreaking research focused on the use of spinach leaves in regenerating human heart tissue. The class, which includes a cross-section of students from grades 9-12 and all levels of science experience, has embraced the challenge with great enthusiasm.

McCracken-Barber calls the spinach project “Vascular Vexation” and modeled it on research she herself studied this past summer at the UNH Tech for Teachers Institute, a professional development program for middle and high school instructors focused on building knowledge in both emerging technologies and project-based learning. This past summer’s program was focused on regenerative medicine and biofabrication, industries that are rapidly growing in New Hampshire and beyond.

Taking place over a number of weeks, McCracken-Barber says her spinach project involves the decellularization of spinach leaves, which transforms them into a veiny framework similar to the natural circulatory system found in humans, one that is ideal for supplying oxygen and nutrients to heart cells. The leaves will then be symbolically recellularized with engineered E. coli that has been colored with a plasmid to demonstrate that new types of cells can be regrown on the spinach framework. This process mimics what would be done in a professional lab.

“This is cutting-edge science that I’m tailoring to fit my class,” says McCracken-Barber.  “In the end, the experiments may not be 100 percent successful, but learning to keep a growth mindset and learning from our failures is of huge importance. Just by being actively involved in the process, my students are learning about new areas of science that they can potentially study and job opportunities that they never even knew existed.”

This line of thinking is in perfect alignment with a new workforce development initiative based at UNH focused on cultivating interest and expertise in regenerative medicine and biotechnology and improving overall STEM literacy among middle and high school students. This initiative, called NH CREATES the Future: the NH Collaborative for Regenerative Medicine Education and Training for Engineers and Scientists of the Future, is funded by a $1.2 million grant awarded to UNH Tech Camp by the National Institutes of Health through its Science Education Partnership Award program.

Note: This story originally appeared in Foster’s Daily Democrat.