REASEARCH TRIANGLE PARK — 2013-14 Kenan Fellow Erin Lawrence, a science teacher at Wake Forest Middle School, spoke during a celebration of Biogen Idec's newest Community Lab on Tuesday, Oct. 10.
After a standing ovation, Ms. Lawrence shared her experience as a Kenan Fellow working at Biogen Idec, and how she followed that experience by bringing all 120 sixth graders from Wake Forest Middle School to Biogen Idec to experience life in a science-based company. She read from a letter sent to her by a parent who talked about how meaningful the field trip was to her daughter.
"Forty percent of my students qualify for free and reduced lunch," Ms. Lawrence told the audience. "This student population rarely has someone encouraging them to dream about their future and think beyond their circumstances. When they walked into Biogen Idec, they saw, some for the first time, the purpose for school and the bigger picture."
Biogen Idec CEO George Scangos, who gave the opening speech at the event, described Biogen Idec as a company dedicated to community service. “Caring deeply isn’t just something we do," Mr. Scangos said. "It’s an extension of who we are as a company and how we support the communities where we have a presence.”
Mr. Scangos and Ms. Lawrence joined NC Governor Pat McCrory and more than 75 elected officials, business and community leaders, students and teachers to celebrate Biogen Idec’s investment in science education. The event gave guests the opportunity to tour the new facilities and offered a sneak peek into the innovative learning experiences the lab has to offer.
The Kenan Fellows Program is an initiative of the Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology & Science, and is generously supported by grants from business, foundations, government organizations, and individual partners.