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Hudson Valley Community College's Biotechnology Programs Provide Pathway to a Lucrative Career

MEDIA CONTACT: Eric Bryant, (518) 629-8072 /
FOR RELEASE: Tuesday, August 5, 2014, 2014

In 2011, the job search Web site conducted an extensive survey of employees around the United States, looking to find the career track with the highest rate of overall job satisfaction.

Which job came in at number 1? According to the survey, careers in biotechnology provided the most overall satisfaction. The survey noted that biotech employees were among the happiest with their daily tasks and the level of control they feel they have over their work. The study also cited the general camaraderie workers in the field feel among their co-workers and supervisors.

With the biotech sector expanding in the Capital Region, Hudson Valley Community College’s Biotechnology degree and certificate programs should be bursting at the seams with new students. Yet, while the student numbers have been steadily growing over the past six years, (thanks in part to a federal Department of Labor grant that helped offset the cost of tuition for some students), the numbers are not yet matching the demand seen at some of the largest biotech employers in the region.

“Since the biotech program began at the college, we have partnered with employers in the region, and often these are the companies that are hiring our graduates, in some cases, even before they complete the program,” said Department Chair Dr. Peter Schaefer. “But the fact is, there are good, high-paying biotech jobs out there for the right people and they are going unfilled because not enough people are seeing this as a viable career path. We need to spread the word that these careers exist and Hudson Valley’s programs are a great way to prepare for them.”

The college offers a two-year Biotechnology associate degree as well as a one-year certificate program that is aimed at students who have already completed a significant amount of college-level science. The campus’ new Science Center, which officially opened in the fall of 2013, boasts state-of-the-art equipment used in biotechnology.

“We are seeing interest in the program from recent high school graduates as well as people who have a bachelor’s degree in Biology but who’ve not found a way to fit it into a career path,” said Schaefer.

One student who has taken advantage of the program is Averill Park’s Lindsey Sterantino, who developed an interest in the field while in high school and recently completed the college’s Biotechnology degree program.
Sterantino took an introductory biotechnology class as a high school junior through Hudson Valley’s College in the High School program and something clicked. “Before that I really didn’t know what I wanted to do (as a career), but after taking that class, I knew,” she said. She was so captivated by the class she took it again during her senior year. “I just really wanted to learn more. I even helped the teacher prep for the labs.”

After graduating from Averill Park, Sterantino entered the college’s Biotechnology degree program, which she is finishing up this summer. She plans to enter the certificate program this fall to increase her skills and marketability. “I’ve always wanted a career where I could do something to help someone,” she said. “In a way, this is one of those careers. It’s just a different way to help someone.”

The college has established partnerships not only with employers in the region but also with the four-year colleges and universities where many of its graduates continue their education. The University at Albany is in the process of developing a four-year bachelor’s degree in Bioinstrumentation, which could serve as a continuation of Hudson Valley’s Biotech associate degree.

Spaces are still available in both the Biotechnology certificate and the Biotechnology degree program for the fall semester. For more information about the program, contact the Biology, Chemistry and Physics Department at (518) 629-7453.

Founded in 1953, Hudson Valley Community College offers more than 75 degree and certificate programs in four schools: Business; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Science; and Liberal Arts and Sciences; and an Educational Opportunity Center for academic and career training. One of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, it has an enrollment of nearly 13,000 students and is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and workforce training. Hudson Valley has more than 75,000 alumni.