The Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or STEM program, at Red Mountain High School in Mesa has been growing over the past few years. STEM encompasses several classes including two that sound similar but are actually very different: Biomedical Sciences and Biotechnology.
“The major similarity is that both classes help people in the medical field,” Biomed teacher Tammy Hamilton said. “Biotech runs the labs to help diagnose diseases, whereas Biomed teaches more about the disease itself and how it is presented in the patient.”
Many students are confused when signing up for classes and believe that taking one is just like taking the other.
“Both classes cover the medical world,” Biotech teacher Katy Gazda said. “Biomed goes more in depth on the patient care and pathology side of medicine, and Biotech goes more in depth on the science and research side of medicine.”
Biotech is a four-level program focused on lab science and techniques. The first two years are classes based on learning the concepts and skills. The third year is an independent project and the final stage is applying all of the class work to an internship.
“Throughout the different levels of biotech students work with different enzymes, artificial DNA replication, DNA analysis and culturing plants or bacteria,” Red Mountain junior Abigail Mann said. “The class has taught me how to conduct myself in a lab, as well as different sterile and precise techniques.”
Biomed is a four-year program starting with Principles of Biomedical Science, the Human Body Systems, followed by Medical Interventions and lastly Biomedical Innovations. These classes cover anatomy and medical topics such as diabetes, cancer and genetic disorders.
“In Biomed, we research the various functions of the body and how diseases affect us,” junior Lauren Kuss said. “We focus on understanding how everything works together through testing and experimentation. We also analyze current health problems to study the most relevant technology and how medicine changes.”
Ultimately, the choice between Biotech and Biomed lies with the student, for both offer an abundance of benefits and great opportunities.
“Both programs do a wonderful job at applying what you learn in class to what goes on in the real world,” Gazda said. “Whether that is bringing in a speaker to talk about it, going somewhere to see it or getting an internship. The benefit of both programs is that they are very career focused in helping the student get out into the industry.”
More information can be found at: http://www.mpsaz.org/rmhs/academics/stem/.
– Heilee Pentz is a junior at Red Mountain High School in Mesa.