Sharp instructors and a unique new lab give N.C. State students a leg up in the field of biotechnology, and what is really unique is the undergraduate minor in biotechnology.
"It gives us an upper hand in research. It allows us to learn the basic techniques," N.C. State junior Stephanie Bridger said.
Bridger and a growing number of N.C. State students majoring in everything from business to veterinary medicine chose to study in the Biotechnology Education Center.
"We've tried to make this as available as possible across the whole campus, because we feel that in almost all areas we train people in on campus, there's a biotechnology element that they could fit into their careers, " Dr. Bob Kelly, the director of N.C. State's Biotechnology Program, said.
The center provides a hands-on approach to the mysteries of DNA, genetics and new crops.
"Biotechnology is all over the front pages of the newspapers. The new stem cell research is a pretty big thing for biotech," Bridger said.
With an automated DNA sequencer and other sophisticated gear, the million-dollar lab is expected to be a hot spot on campus.
"Everything is relevant to what we're using in the course and everything is just state-of-the-art. It's a really nice lab," North Carolina State senior Satisha Bissram said.
But the courses are not just test tubes and beakers. Students must understand how to use what they learn.
"We need to learn to use it technically well, but also to have some ethical context to how we use it," Kelly said.
Undergraduate biotech majors may well be able to get jobs on state's Centennial Campus or in the area's growing biotech industry.
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