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Bayer Foundation Awards $150,000 Grant to Nationally Recognized Bay Area Biotechnology School-To-Career Program

Submitted by: Bayer

Categories: Community Development

Posted: Aug 16, 2006 – 12:05 PM EST


Dr. Mae C. Jemison Keynotes High School Student Summer Internship Event

Aug. 16 /CSRwire/ - BERKELEY, Calif.- The Bayer Foundation tonight awarded Biotech Partners (formerly Berkeley Biotechnology Education, Inc. or BBEI) a $150,000 grant, further demonstrating the Foundation's commitment to education and workforce development and to ensure today's students are well-prepared to be tomorrow's leaders and innovators.

The Bayer Foundation grant will help Biotech Partners enhance the educational services it provides to local high school and community college students. Biotech Partners is the Bay Area's only non-profit organization providing a comprehensive, hands-on, bioscience education and job training program for populations underrepresented in the sciences - especially students of color (97 percent), young women (54 percent) and those from low-income households.

This grant reaffirms Bayer Corporation's commitment to this exemplary biotechnology school-to-career program the company established with the City of Berkeley 13 years ago.

"It is with great pride and pleasure that the Bayer Foundation awards this grant to a program that Bayer Corporation helped establish," said Yvonne Richardson who presented the check on behalf of the Foundation. Richardson is Vice President, Project Management, Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, Hematology/Cardiology.

Richardson added, "Biotech Partners continues to be such a tremendous success, providing great hope and opportunity to our local students, developing our local bioscience workforce and contributing significantly to the vitality and vibrancy of the Bay Area's bioscience industry."

The gift was bestowed at Posters2006, Biotech Partners' annual event that showcases and celebrates the achievements of students from Berkeley High School and Oakland's Life Academy of Health and Bioscience at the conclusion of their first summer internships in the biotechnology industry. This year, Posters2006 honored 33 such students with Certificates of Achievement. Their internship supervisors were presented with Certificates of Appreciation.

Dr. Mae C. Jemison, the nation's first African-American female astronaut, served as keynote speaker. Scientist, chemical engineer, physician, and Bayer's longtime national spokesperson for its award-winning Making Science Make Sense® program, Dr. Jemison praised the students for their accomplishments, Bayer for its generosity and continuing support, and Biotech Partners for its commitment to diversity, quality science education, and Bay Area students.

"I've long been an admirer of Biotech Partners and its ability to equip young people with the technical skills they need to succeed in the bioscience laboratory, and the self-confidence that comes when one faces, meets and exceeds a life challenge. As Bayer has long understood, there is a tremendous want and need for all kinds of highly trained, highly skilled technical talent in the biotechnology industry and in all STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) industries for that matter. The question becomes how do we develop that talent? Bayer and other companies who support Biotech Partners have devised one answer that is both sustainable and replicable and can serve as a model for STEM companies, regardless of their industry," said Dr. Jemison.

"Biotech Partners is actively addressing California's and the nation's critical need to develop a more diverse STEM workforce and we're extremely fortunate to have a program of this caliber in our state," added State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell who also attended the event.

Other speakers on hand to commend the students included Leslie Bar-Ness, Deputy Director, San Francisco/Bay Area Regional Office of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger; Keith Carson, President, Alameda County Board of Supervisors; Darryl Moore, Berkeley City Council Member; and, Pat Kernighan, Oakland City Council Member.

During Posters2006, each student presented a poster depicting his or her summer internship experience at biotech companies including Bayer, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Kaiser Permanente, Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, the Alameda County Department of Health, EBMUD, Brookside Community Health Center, Libby Laboratories, Lawrence Hall of Science, Pets Unlimited Hospital and La Clinica Alta Vista.

Judging the posters for Best Poster, Most Creative Poster and Best Oral Presentation awards were Bayer's Richardson; Councilmember Moore; Julie Sinai, aide to Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates; Dr. William A. Lester, UCB Professor of Chemistry and Principal Investigator, Chemical Sciences Division, LBNL; Karina Moreno, The Y&H Soda Foundation; Rogeair Purnell, The James Irvine Foundation; Alameda County's Board of Supervisors' President Carson and Superintendent of Schools Sheila Jordan; Dr. J. Mark Carter, Research Leader, USDA; David Manson, Executive Director of Berkeley Boosters; and Tammy Burns Bailey, a Biotech Partners graduate and board member, among others.

Biotech Partners also presented Outstanding Mentor Awards to Glenn Yamasaki of Bayer HealthCare and Gennady Borinshteyn of Libby Laboratories, for their longtime dedication to and participation in the program.

"We are extremely grateful to the Bayer Foundation for this new grant and to Bayer for its longtime and unwavering support for this program," said Deborah Bellush, Executive Director of Biotech Partners. "Years ago, Bayer recognized the potential bioscience talent pool that exists in our community, largely with students of color, and was determined to help tap it. The program is an outstanding example of an innovative industry-government-community collaboration that has benefited an entire region."

Bellush added, "Biotech Partners' summer internships allow high school students to walk through a door that otherwise wouldn't have been accessible to them. Many of the students have exceeded the expectations of the communities they live in and can now go back with a new awareness and perspective. Since 1993, almost 700 students have participated in our program and been set on a path of learning and professional achievement."

About Biotech Partners

Founded in 1993 as part of a 30-year Development Agreement between Bayer HealthCare and the City of Berkeley, Biotech Partners is a nationally recognized model nonprofit organization that connects youth to the world of biotechnology. Biotech Partners works with students who are not traditionally considered college-bound, and who come from ethnically diverse populations; for a significant number, English is their second language. Students who join the program in the eleventh grade enjoy a 98 percent graduation rate, compared to the 70 percent state average.

Partnering with Berkeley High School, Oakland's Life Academy and Laney College, Biotech Partners delivers a lab-based biotech curriculum. High school students are placed in eight-week paid summer internships and freshmen-year community college students in one-year paid co-op worker positions at local biotech companies, healthcare institutions and research laboratories. Today, Biotech Partners' work involves more than 35 corporate, government, education and health care partners.

About The Bayer Foundation

The Bayer Foundation is an endowed 501(c)(3) entity and is the primary source of Bayer Corporation's philanthropy in the United States. With a programmatic focus on civic and social service programs, education and workforce development, arts and culture, and health and human services, the Bayer Foundation creates and supports partnerships that improve communities in which Bayer employees live and work.

About Bayer Corporation

Bayer Corporation, headquartered in Pittsburgh, is part of the worldwide Bayer Group, an international health care, nutrition and innovative materials group based in Leverkusen, Germany. In North America, Bayer had 2005 net sales of 7.3 billion euros and employed 16,200 at year end. Bayer's three operating companies -- Bayer HealthCare LLC, Bayer CropScience LP and Bayer MaterialScience LLC -- improve people's lives through a broad range of essential products that help diagnose and treat diseases, protect crops and advance automobile safety and durability. Bayer AG stock is a component of the DAX and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (ticker symbol: BAY).

For more information, please contact:

Karen L. Wirth Bayer Corporation
Phone: (412) 777-5760
Phone 2: Fax: (412) 778-4430

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