At The Biome School, we value community partnerships that nurture relationships at any level; however, a commitment of time, talents, and treasure is a trifecta for us! For this reason, we are proud to announce the beginning of a new relationship with a company that exemplifies this level of investment.
Thermo Fisher Scientific is the world leader in serving science, with revenues of more than $20 billion and approximately 70,000 employees globally. The company’s mission is to enable its customers to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer. Thermo Fisher helps its customers “accelerate life sciences research, solve complex analytical challenges, improve patient diagnostics, deliver medicines to market and increase laboratory productivity” (corporate.thermofisher.com). Thermo Fisher Scientific developed a presence in the St. Louis region after acquiring Patheon Biologics in 2017, and sees the potential that our region has to offer in the future of scientific research and product development.
Introduced to us by long-time friends of our organization, Stacey Wehe and Paul Jorjorian, Thermo Fisher Scientific representatives recognized that The Biome would be the perfect elementary educational partner for its St. Louis site. Thermo Fisher has a keen focus on contributing to the development of the next generation of STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) professionals. At The Biome, our focus on immersing children beginning at the age of five in quality STEAM (STEM with the arts integrated) educational experiences resonated with the company’s representatives, and The Biome was invited to become a partner.
The relationship between The Biome and Thermo Fisher Scientific is still in its infancy, but it is off to a fantastic start. On September 21, 2018, Thermo Fisher held a ceremony to celebrate its recent expansion in the St. Louis region. The company has invested $50M
in a 64,000-square-foot expansion to its manufacturing building located in Berkeley, MO and will add 80 new technical jobs in the next year, helping to strengthen our regional economy. The celebratory event was attended by Thermo Fisher executives who traveled from various national and international offices, by Berkeley’s mayor, and by a host of other public officials. The Biome was honored to be invited to participate in the event. In addition to celebrating its expansion, Thermo Fisher wanted to make a statement about its commitment to education, and presented a $5,000 check and 400 science kits to The Biome. Employees from Thermo Fisher volunteered their time to create the science kits, which include professional grade aprons, goggles, and other items to help our children nurture their “STEM identity.”
All children, and especially children from under-resourced backgrounds, need access to quality STEM learning opportunities and resources if they are to be positioned for academic and career success in STEM. African Americans and other minorities are under-represented in STEM fields, which offer more stability, income, and growth than non-STEM careers (U.S. Commerce Department, 2011). According to a 2018 Pew Research Center report, Blacks represent only 9% of workers in related STEM fields. This concerns us at The Biome because 22% of the St. Louis workforce is in industries that require STEM experience (Brookings Institution, 2013). Additionally, according to the 2018 State of the St. Louis Workforce Report, 61% of Information Technology employers experience a shortage of skilled applicants. The Biome’s school model addresses these challenges by investing in the future of youth through an interactive, project-based learning environment that facilitates and promotes students’ interest and growth in STEM and STEAM.
While we do not intend to force or usher our learners to careers in STEM, we want them to develop the competencies and interests that will allow them to succeed in these fields should their passions lead them to pursue STEM beyond academic settings.
A part of preparing our learners for success in STEM and beyond is creating opportunities for them to experience STEM in the real world, and partnerships with companies like Thermo Fisher Scientific will allow us to do this. In addition to working with the tools in their specially-made science kits, our learners will have a chance to engage with Thermo Fisher professionals who will volunteer at The Biome for special activities, and our older learners will have an opportunity to visit the Thermo Fisher lab to see first-hand the important work that happens there. The possibilities to inspire are endless!
The Biome has already left its mark on Thermo Fisher Scientific quite literally. At the celebration event, guests were invited to sign in permanent marker one of the steel beams that will be used in the construction of the new building. The Biome’s representative in attendance, Michele Mosley, made sure to write “The Biome” in very large letters, front and center.
We are ecstatic to welcome Thermo Fisher Scientific to our region and into our Biome family, and we look forward to an exciting partnership.