CROP Students Visit SCF to Sharpen Science Skills

(Bradenton, Fla., Feb. 22, 2018) — Nearly 40 students from the College Reach-Out Program (CROP) in Manatee and Sarasota counties visited State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) last month to learn investigative techniques and work with DNA material in the biotech labs at the College. The visit was part of the CROP program’s mission to introduce Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) to middle and high school students and to make the subject matter accessible.

In a survey after the program all 39 students who participated said they enjoyed the workshop and that it was a positive learning experience. Nearly half indicated they are interested in finding out more about pursuing a career in science.

Three of the CROP students interviewed said that participating in the biotech workshop made them realize that they could work in a lab successfully with the right training and mechanics. They thought the instructors were thorough and the explanations were easy to grasp because of the way the class was set up.

Dylan Alvarez, a student at Palmetto High School who plans to get an associate degree at SCF and then transfer to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to study aviation, liked how the faculty from SCF combined the lab with the instruction on DNA and investigative techniques.

“The techniques are simple in nature as long as you have the mechanics,” said Brandon Amspaugh, a Bayshore student who said the instruction at SCF was key to making it understandable. “You could take anybody and have them do a lab successfully if they want to do it.”

Daniel Haley said opportunities through the CROP program have helped him decide what he wants to do when he graduates. Haley, a junior at Bayshore, is already taking classes at SCF as an accelerated dual enrollment student and once he gets his high school diploma and his degree from SCF, he plans to transfer to Florida State University to study mechanical engineering.

Most of the students who visited SCF’s science department last month had never been in a biotech lab and were not familiar with the techniques but were able to quickly grasp how to use the tools and how to run an experiment. In a survey one student called the visit “one of the best activities CROP has done so far.” Several indicated they enjoyed working in the lab and being on campus. Most said that they are more motivated to go to college after having participated in the experience.

For more information, contact Kristen L. Anderson, program director of special programs, at or 941-752-5257.

From left: Daniel Haley works with Adrian Ramirez in SCF’s biotech lab.  Both are Bayshore High school students.

From left: Daniel Haley works with Adrian Ramirez in SCF’s biotech lab.  Both are Bayshore High school students.

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