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Note from the Directors

This fall was the beginning of the 8th year of the BTI program at Carlmont High School. How far we have come! Our pioneering graduating class was only 35 students. Many of those students have now graduated college and are entering the workforce and graduate school. It is so rewarding when these students reconnect with us, share their successes, and reflect on how BTI influenced their studies and career goals.

We look forward to an exciting year with YOUR students this year, and we hope to provide a positive experience they can take with them beyond their years at Carlmont. As always, we appreciate your support of the unique BTI program here at Carlmont! Thanks to your generous support, we have been able to continue with our BTI-only sections of Biotechnology 3-4. Additionally, our senior English teacher, Mr. Fabic will continue to lead the mentor program, and your support has made it possible for him to have a period to coordinate this innovative program.

Mr. Fabic is halfway to our goal of recruiting 50 mentors for our juniors. If you have any leads on mentors, please contact him at ocortez@seq.org.

Below is a list of ways you can help the BTI program.

We are looking forward to a great year ahead!

Jaime Abdilla and Susan Gold

Ways to support the BTI community:

Support both BTI and CAF as generously as your pocketbooks will allow. BTI families are able to allocate a portion of their CAF donation to the BTI program. Here is the link to make your donation.

Become a Mentor - we are actively looking for volunteers to participate in our mentoring program. For more information, please contact Mr. Oscar Fabic-Cortez at ocortez@seq.org.

Industry Tour - Host 54 students plus chaperones for a field trip to a biotechnology company. Our students love to see professionals at work and hear about their day-to-day jobs. (Juniors will visit Genentech on April 2.)

BTI Wish List - Do you work in the biotech industry? Is your lab looking to donate lab supplies in clean, working condition? If so, please look at the BTI wish list and contact Ms. Abdilla at jabdilla@seq.org

The BTI Staff

From left to right: Lindsey Moynihan, Connor Fenech, Oscar Fabic, Josh Engberg, Leslie Burndon, Jaime Abdilla, Kim Miller, Susan Gold

Welcome to BTI, Mr. Fenech

This is my 3rd year teaching at Carlmont. While at Carlmont, I have taught Ethnic Studies, US History, AP US Government, and AP Microeconomics. I am excited to be part of the BTI team and to teach World History for the first time. I am looking forward to the challenge of teaching a class that explores the intersections of history and science. My goal is to create a challenging and engaging class that my students look forward to each day.

What's Happening in Our Classes

Class of 2026

Biotechnology 1 with Ms. Burndon

We will be learning about the impact of Biotechnology on society through the stock project and other online career and current event explorations. We will be doing labs to develop the core skills of Biotechnology, including measurement, solution preparation, microbial culturing, and work with DNA and proteins.

English II with Ms. Gold

Students started the year with an introduction to ethics based on Susan Linataud’s book, The Power of Ethics. They also explored the bioethical issues surrounding assisted reproductive technology and embryonic gene editing. We will soon be immersed in Aldous Huxley’s novel, Brave New World, which tells the story of a future dystopia that uses genetic engineering to manufacture and control its citizens. Students have also been doing research on applications of biotechnology for an informative essay they wrote about the field.

World History with Mr. Fenech

We began the year with community-building activities and having fun getting to know each other. Our units will take us through the social, political, and economic continuities and changes that impacted the world from the 1700s through today. This semester, we will cover the topics of Pre-Colonial Societies, Revolutions, and Imperialism. We will explore these topics through the perspectives of various regions and cultures to reveal a complete narrative of our world’s history.

Class of 2025

Biotechnology 3 with Ms. Abdilla

We started off the fall semester with a review of solution preparation, learning about the plant and flower parts and the function of those parts. This semester will also include a review of genetics and how to predict the outcome of offspring by focusing on the genetics of Wisconsin fast plants. We also conduct labs that focus on germinating seeds, growing plants from seeds, and cloning plants using 3 different techniques.

Chemistry for Biotechnology with Mr. Engberg and Ms. Lu

So far this semester will have investigated why some beverage cans float or sink, the gas laws, and the chemistry of smells. In addition to a general introduction to chemistry, the main focus for the first semester will be project-based learning centered around the creation and analysis of a student-created beverage. Students will mostly be creating this beverage at home and then testing the properties at school. During this project, we will focus on the chemistry concepts of solutions, concentration, measurement, bonding, structure, and other basic chemistry concepts.

English III with Ms. Gold

We began the semester writing narrative essays and are now reading Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, which examines the motivations and ethical challenges of a scientist. We will also explore the book through a psychological lens—looking at the light and shadow sides of the mad scientist and monster archetypes. After our Frankenstein unit, we will delve into a bioethical issue and argument writing.

U.S. History with Ms. Moynihan

Currently, we are approaching the end of our first unit about the Gilded Age and the Progressive Era of the late-19th/early-20th centuries. Many political, economic, and social changes arose with the rise of big business and industry, unleashing many social, political, and economic problems that the middle class wanted to tackle in order to help the urban poor, immigration, and corruption in both business and the government. The unit assessment (coming soon!) will be a group project to create a magazine regarding a specific Progressive reformer and the issues surrounding what it was they wanted to reform. Recently, under the Progressive Era content, we’ve also been discussing environmental conservation vs. preservation and private property rights regarding resources that could benefit a wider community. Our following unit will regard WWI and the 1920s, followed by the Great Depression and WWII. I’m hoping we may be able to finish (or at least get part way through) WWII by the end of the semester.

Class of 2024

Biomanufacturing with Ms. Burndon

Welcome to C.A.R.L. (Carlmont Advanced Research Laboratories)! In our newly formed Biomanufacturing “company”, students will begin the year by manufacturing a variety of biotechnology products, from cosmetics to supplements to biologics, and performing validation testing. We will end the semester with the student favorite project Urease Medical Device Project, where students use low-tech materials and their Biotech skills to design an alternative to Dialysis. Second semester we will purify our own Taq Polymerase for PCR and learn about the computer side of Biotech with a unit on Bioinformatics and DNA sequencing related to Jurassic Park.

American Government with Ms. Moynihan

In our introduction to government at the start of this fall semester, we began by tracing the foundations of our American democracy and form of government as outlined in the U.S. Constitution. Our current unit focuses on principles in the Constitution, our federal system, the independent judiciary, and the structure of our government. At the end of this unit, students should be able to explain how to amend the constitution, explain how power and responsibility are shared and limited in our government, and describe the major principles of the American Constitution. Our next unit will focus on the Legislative Branch, and we may take a brief stint to look at voting and the upcoming elections happening in November. Students are continuing their practice of civil discourse and critical thinking regarding issues that our current government (and major players currently involved) are tackling today and presenting strong arguments based in the Constitution as well as comparing our modern government to what it may have looked like back in the late 1700s.

English IV with Mr. Fabic

We start with the “What’s Next?” college admissions essay writing unit followed by a Fahrenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury) informative essay unit and an argumentative essay writing unit addressing the issues presented in John Carreyrou’s Bad Blood. The following semester, we explore the world of Jurassic Park (Michael Crichton) and end the year with 1984 (George Orwell). Our goal is to prepare students for success beyond high school by helping them become emergent and engaged critical thinkers, capable writers, and ardent readers.

Field Trip to the California Academy of Sciences

The BTI team took 105 BTI sophomores and juniors to CAS for our biannual visit. We got to see Methuselah, the world's oldest aquarium fish. A Channel 2 News crew was filming her, and Ms. Miller and some BTI students can be seen in the background. Click here to check out the story. We also got to say “hi” to Claude, the albino alligator, explore the living roof, visit the penguins, and much, much more. The BTI team really appreciated the opportunity to get to know our students outside of the classroom. We all had a lot of fun and made memories together!

Notebook Decorating & Popsicles

BTI Bonding Event

In late August, we beat the heat by enjoying popsicles while decorating our notebooks in the nicely air-conditioned biotech lab. While scientific notebooks contain the same information within their pages, the BTI students made sure that the exterior covers displayed their unique personality with lots of vinyl stickers and washi tape! No chance of any student confusing their notebook with other BTI students!

Upcoming Events

October 3 - Sophomore Symposium

October 27 -Slime Time: Halloween fun in the U21 Lab at lunch

Nov. 3: Meet-Your-Mentor event for juniors

November 17 - Pie Feast: Bring a pie or sweet treat to share with your BTI family in the U21 lab at lunch

December 14, 5:00-7:00 PM - Study Night: Get ready for finals in U21. Bring $5 for pizza. Snacks and drinks will be provided.

Mark your calendars: Open House is February 15, 2024. 10th and 11th-grade students will present long-term, cross-curricular projects.

Mark your calendars: BTI Graduation is June 5, 2024 at 6:30.

Contact Information

Directors of BTI: Ms. Abdilla at jabdilla@seq.org and Ms. Gold at sgold@seq.org

Mentor Coordinator: Mr. Fabic at ocortez@seq.org

Class of 2024 Rep - Lisa Wong – land.lisaw@gmail.com

Class of 2025 Rep - Shirley Chan – shirleyrd1@gmail.com

Class of 2026 Reps – Angera Kuo, and Ranjan Ray – angekuo@gmail.com, ranjan_ray@yahoo.com

BTI/CAF Liaison for the 2023-2024 school year: Ulla Foehr