2024 Biotech Day excitement

Over 200 eager minds gathered at the KU Edwards Campus for Biotech Day 2024, embarking on a day of discovery and inspiration in the burgeoning field of biotechnology, with a special focus on the critical role of epidemiology in public health.

Austin Beahm, Griffin Schenck, Miguel Roman, and Sandra Leppin. Sandra is the director of admissions at KU Med and the other three are graduates of KUEC.

More than 200 students and science lovers filled BEST Conference Center at the KU Edwards Campus on Jan. 26 to learn and collaborate during this year’s Biotech Day. The event hosted a variety of KU student presentations focusing on biotechnologies and biological sciences, along with interactive opportunities with KU students and faculty in the form of puzzles, games, hands-on lab activities, and lectures for attendees to learn more about promising careers in the biotechnology field. 

The theme of the 2024 Biotech Day was epidemiology — the prevention and control of health problems by studying patterns and determinants in a defined population. The study of epidemiology has enormous benefits locally and globally for tracking diseases and predicting outcomes. Attendees heard from leaders in the field of epidemiology, including Dr. Kathryn Brinsfield, director of the National Counterproliferation and Biosecurity Center, who hosted a lively Q&A session about epidemiology, public policy, and working as part of the Intelligence Community, a network of 18 federal agencies working to spot and respond to national threats, including COVID-19.  

Olive Njoroge

KU interacting with the community
The networking and collaboration between KU and the learning community is intrinsic to the mission of Biotech Day. 

“I’m excited about Biotech Day because it allows students to feel empowered to attend events like these. Events that will allow them to see what is possible for their future, meet new people, and learn about the work of other students,” said Olive Njoroge, a senior in the biotech program at KUEC and presenter at the event.

Njoroge says the event transcends STEM-focused students and careers. “Biotech Day is important because it gives an insight into what the Edwards Campus has to offer as a whole,” Njoroge said. “Even if prospective students feel that biotechnology is not right for them, they may feel inclined to look into the other programs on campus.”  

The Jayhawk community also benefits from Biotech Day. KU faculty participated in the day’s panels and discussions, and three biotech seniors presented their capstone projects, which are the culmination of several semesters of research and refinement.

“It’s a valuable learning experience for KUEC Biotech students — both juniors and seniors,” said Kaitlyn Sy, a presenter at the event and a biotech program senior. “I first attended Biotech Day last year as a junior. It was inspiring to watch the seniors present their research. Seeing students who were just one year ahead of me present research that could have real-world impact showed me that making a positive difference is not as far away as I had previously thought. Now that I am standing in their shoes as a biotech senior, I am eager to inspire the next batch of juniors.”

“I think it’s cool that we are a small class of women in a male-dominated field,” said Bridget Ruhme, the third member of the biotech program seniors to present at the event.  “Hopefully, our research can inspire younger girls to pursue a degree in biology and be more open-minded about the STEM field.” 

Ruhme also recognized events like Biotech Day are not commonplace. “The biotechnology program at KU has been a unique experience that I am proud to be a part of,” Ruhme said. “I have not come across any other program that hosts an event similar to Biotech Day for their students, which makes our program stand out.” 

Read more about the topics and importance of the biotech senior capstone presentations from the 2024 Biotech Day and previous years.

The importance of biotechnology
“My greatest hope is for visitors to witness the outstanding work happening here and consider joining our programs,” said Jack Treml, assistant professor of the practice, biotechnology, and administrator for Biotech Day. “On a broader level, I want students to see that their education is important. It’s important to us and important to them. We want students to recognize there are great careers in science where they can make a difference in the world. Research, often overlooked, is highlighted as a powerful avenue where their work can influence countless lives globally.” 

Those involved in Biotech Day share a global view on the importance of research and the power it holds. They include Kaitlyn Sy, who said “As scientifically advanced as our world has become, there are still problems to be solved. There are people suffering from incurable diseases, regions being devastated by ecological disasters, and communities grappling with food insecurity, to name a few. These kinds of problems won’t be solved overnight and will take teamwork to address. My hope is, by making science more accessible to the public, we can inspire the next generation of scientists, promote scientific literacy in the community, and work together to bring about positive change in the world.”

The power of potential could be felt throughout Biotech Day. KU’s Edwards Campus echoed with the laughter and conversation of fun coinciding with the sharing of knowledge. It is certain that those participating in the operation, presentation, and curation of the event succeeded in their goals and created an atmosphere of inspiration. 

cover of the Alumni Survey results

Get Insights from KU Graduates

Download this report filled with statistical and qualitative feedback from more than 500 alumni to help you decide if the KU Edwards Campus is right for you.

Cover to the Tips for a Successful Start PDF

Get started at the KU Edwards Campus

Download your guide for a successful start on your KU Edwards Campus undergraduate or graduate program, including information on financial aid, academic advising and more.

alumni report

Maximize Your Financial Aid

Download your guide for making the most of financial aid at KU Edwards Campus.

Cover to the The Adult Learner's Guide PDF

An Adult Learner’s Guide to Choosing the Right KC University

Helpful tips to choosing the right university in Kansas City.

Cover to the The Adult Learner's Guide PDF

Putting off your academic pursuits?

Download our eBook that addresses and debunks 7 of the biggest concerns adult learners have about returning to school.

Cover to the The Online Learner's guide

Find the right online program for you

Download your guide for tips and questions to ask when researching online learning options.