CenterPoint Energy recently awarded a $5,000 grant to BRF for the purchase of equipment for the new Clinical Lab course at the Biotechnology Magnet Academy (BTA) at Southwood High School. The new, specialized equipment will help students gain valuable hands-on laboratory experience and better prepare them for internships, college and career opportunities in the scientific research and medical fields.
In 2005, BRF helped found the BTA along with Southwood, LSU Health Sciences Center Shreveport (LSUHSCS), Caddo Parish Public Schools, LSU Shreveport, and participating biotech companies. Increasing education opportunities in North Louisiana is important for building a knowledge-based regional economy and a part of BRF’s mission in economic development.
BRF has been pleased to be a part of the growth of the BTA, from 25 freshmen in 2006 to over 200 students in 2021. The program also serves many students who are typically underrepresented in STEM fields. This year’s group includes 66 percent female, 70 percent minority and 26 percent first generation college-bound students.
Since 2005, BRF has raised over $720,000 directly to fund BTA, BioStart Internships and Boot Camps, and the College Navigator, East and FIRST Programs. This includes over $120,000 to equip and outfit the microbiology lab and the molecular and cellular biology labs that were essential to making this a special and unique high school program. In addition, in 2008 with LSUHSC, BRF secured a $1.25 million, five-year NIH SEPA (Science Education Partnership Award) grant to expand the BioStart internships at LSUHSCS. More information about these programs can be found at: www.brfla.org/edventures.
“BRF looks forward to working with CenterPoint Energy and seeing the positive impact their support will provide to local students,” said BRF President and CEO John F. George Jr., M.D.