3.14 = Pi Day = Carlmont Giving Day!!

March 14th is Carlmont Giving Day, and the perfect day to help ensure that BTI has a fully baked funding pie!! We are 9/10 of the way to our BTI fundraising goal and we’d love your help filling the pie tin!

Join me in making a donation at the CAF website on March 14th. There, you can designate a proportion of your CAF donation to BTI. Please give as generously as you can to both organizations - CAF does important work for every child at Carlmont every day; and well, we all know the amazing things that BTI does for our students! Thank you for your help in supporting this amazing program!

Ulla Foehr

BTI/CAF Liaison & Mom to Carly (BTI Junior)

Spotlight on a BTI Senior Who Interned at Brown University

Through personal networking, one of our BTI seniors arranged for an exciting and rigorous internship at Brown University under the mentorship of a professor there. She spent a month on the Brown University campus during the summer of 2023 and collaborated on an intensive research project with undergraduate and Ph.D. students under the auspice of the Lab for Applied Genomics.

Their continued work over the past seven months has culminated in a paper focused on AI applications in RNA sequencing. Their research looks at AI platforms developed for scientific use to see whether these tools might effectively and safely be used to speed up RNA sequencing for pharmaceutical research. This project has also required this team to take a deep dive into RNA sequencers, PCR, and LC-MS-based assays for clinical applications. They will submit their work for publication to a peer-reviewed journal and list this work on Brown’s School of Engineering website under articles developed for 2024.

This BTI student has been captivated by her research and intends to continue pursuing this line of inquiry through her undergraduate years. In the meantime, she is also currently enrolled in AP Research at Carlmont and will submit a personal variant of this paper to the College Board as her capstone project.

What's Happening in Our Classes

Class of 2025

Biotechnology 2 with Leslie Burndon

This unit we are focusing on DNA and its many uses in Biotechnology. We have extracted DNA from plants, animals, and bacteria and will run our first DNA Gel Electrophoresis this week to analyze our samples. We are also going to connect these lab skills to social issues through a unit investigating how DNA gels and forensics can be used to exonerate people who have been wrongly imprisoned. We will then learn about the DNA techniques of PCR and CRISPR, and our final part of the DNA unit will be genetic engineering. Students will get to genetically modify organisms in the lab to give them new traits as a model for how many medications and vaccines are created.

World History with Connor Fenech

Sophomores have been wrapping up their unit on the World Wars. They have created fully playable board games that teach players about key events from WWI to WWII. Our units for the rest of the semester include topics such as nation-building, genocides, pandemics, and contemporary issues.

English II with Susan Gold

English II students spent a number of weeks working on their biotechnology team research projects, which they presented to families at Open House. Among the many topics were bioprinting, CAR T-cell therapy for cancer treatment, bioaugmentation to clean pollutants from the ocean, and bioplastics. The presentations were outstanding! Students have just begun reading Rebecca Skloot's nonfiction book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, and later this quarter they will exercise their creativity through narrative essay writing and poetry writing.

Class of 2025

Biotechnology 4 with Jaime Abdilla

This semester Biotechnology 4 started with practicing how to extract DNA, analyzing DNA using gel electrophoresis, and scaling up our environmentally friendly cleaners for Open House. The bulk of this semester will be looking at how Biotechnology can be used to address many concerning environmental issues.

The start of the 4th quarter will coincide with the start of the student’s final exam. Using all of the skills the students learned this year, the students need to grow an edible plant from a seed and clone. Looking at more environmental applications of Biotechnology, the students will also engineer water filtration systems and have fun testing their designs.

Chemistry for Biotechnology with Josh Engberg or Alyssa Lu

Students will become experts in Stoichiometry this semester, stoichiometry is calculations based on the proportions from balanced chemical reactions. As we like to say in class, “Can’t stop the Stioch!” We just made soap and poured it into molds, in the next week students will analyze their soap and compare its properties to store-bought soap. Making soap allows students to learn more about concentration, calculations, and reactions, The final soap and project learning posters will be displayed at Open House. Going forward students will be designing and carrying out experiments to learn more about chemical reactions.

U.S. History with Lindsey Moynihan

We have recently ended our WWII unit and are moving on to the post-war years of the Atomic Age and the early Cold War. Students will engage in project-based learning to teach their peers about major events that the United States was involved in globally before we look into Cold War fears at home and post-war prosperity. These events will explore the tensions that existed between the United States and the Soviet Union during the latter half of the 20th century and explore the impact of those tensions on populations around the world and the impact to technological advancement.

Juniors have also been participating in their job shadows this quarter. Many students have been reporting back that they’ve had a great time on the job shadow and are getting excited about their future careers! Later this semester, students will later create elevator pitches about themselves and engage in a mock interview with their mentors. Students also created SMART goals the first week back to school from winter break. You should ask them how their progress toward meeting their goals are going! Keep them accountable!

English III with Susan Gold

BTI English III students began the semester working on resumes, which their mentors reviewed, and they are currently reading Margaret Atwood’s post-apocalyptic novel, Oryx and Crake. Years ago, we selected this book to be a part of the BTI English curriculum because it is, in part, a cautionary tale about what could go wrong if biotechnology were to get into the wrong hands. Later in the spring, students will be writing fiction of their own. Students have also learned about marketing and advertising and created an ad campaign for the environmentally friendly cleaner they made in Ms. Abdilla’s Biotechnology 3 class. They presented these cross-curricular projects at Carlmont's Open House.

Class of 2024

Biomanufacturing wtih Leslie Burndon

This semester, students are researching, developing, and manufacturing their own capstone Biotech products. The next phase is R&D to refine their own product ideas and make a test batch, before manufacturing, testing, and packaging their products. As we wait for our purchase orders for our final supplies to be processed, we are working on a side project manufacturing and testing Taq DNA Polymerase for use in PCR.

Economics with Lindsey Moynihan

Our survey course in economics started in January. In our intro to economics, students participated in a simulation of the circular flow of economic activity (called “Econoland”) where they either took on the role of a business or a household and had to make decisions regarding productive resources and finished products to best help themselves. Currently, we’re examining the American free enterprise system and assessing the benefits and drawbacks of capitalism. We will eventually do a segment on personal finances. Hopefully, we won’t all forget our personal finance tips after college! Our course will cover mostly microeconomics, but we will look into macroeconomics a little to better understand the world around us and how everything is interconnected, even our basest of choices!

English IV with Mr. Fabic

We concluded last semester’s Bad Blood unit with a guest speaker: Stanford professor Phyllis Gardner, one of the most outspoken critics of Elizabeth Holmes. This semester we will be exploring three units: an ERWC unit on Language, Gender, & Culture with a parallel narrative unit on scholarship essay writing, Jurassic Park/Informative writing, and 1984/Argumentative writing. Seniors will cap off the year exploring topics in George Orwell’s work such as privacy, security, surveillance, totalitarianism, censorship, and gaslighting.

What the Juniors Have To Say about BTI

Describe one positive experience you have had in BTI this year.

One positive experience I have had in BTI this year was my job shadow at Cytokinetics. I got to see firsthand what it is like working at a biotech company, and talked to many employees about their different jobs. –CF

I really enjoyed the cleaner project because it was super fun to be able to harness our scientific, artistic, and linguistic creativity. Making the cleaner itself in biotechnology and then creating an ad campaign in English was a lot of work but the end result was very rewarding and the process itself taught me a lot. –EM

I thought the African Violet Lab looked really cool when the violets were growing in the test tubes. –JQ

I liked all of the BTI events since they made me feel closer to the BTI community. I especially liked the notebook decorating and the Valentine's day event. –KF

What would you say to a student who is considering joining BTI?

Go for it! You will get to learn so much about science, and what a career in science can look like. Even if you don't end up pursuing biotech after high school, it will give you skills and experience that you can apply to a lot of jobs, majors, and interests. –ZBH

If you like hands-on learning, the biotech classes have lots of cool labs. It's also been really fun thinking about bioethical issues in English, and the whole program is very collaborative. The mentorship program in junior year also can give you an idea for what a career in biotech might look like and help you explore your interests. –MW

Joining BTI was one of the greatest decisions I could have made in my high school career. The community is so friendly and supportive and I am truly grateful for this unique learning experience. –PC

Carlmon'ts Open House

BTI sophomores and juniors presented projects to the community at Carlmont's Open House. Sophomore teams researched applications of biotechnology in their English class. Some of their fascinating topics included Lab-Grown Meat; Bioprinting; Biofuels; and Living Carbon Trees—trees genetically engineered to reduce carbon dioxide.

Biotechnology 4 students gained new lab skills by making a novel, environmentally-friendly household cleaner. Then in English 3, they created a marketing ad campaign for their products. They had fun sharing their cleaners and ad campaigns at Open House.

Sophomore Presentations
Junior Presentations

Study Night

What better way to study for final exams than by hanging out with 50 of your closest BTI friends, consuming massive amounts of junk food, and enjoying the largest pizza most have ever seen? While the chatter and laughs were loud, the students did get some studying done.

Cabin Fever

What is the best medicine for getting over cabin fever brought on by rain and unusually cold temperatures? Spending a lunch period playing checkers and cards, making lanyards and bracelets, and of course, snacking on junk food. This BTI tradition is a great way to build community, make memories, and get out of the cold and rain.

Share the Love: BTI's Valentine's Event

There was lots of love and sweet treats at our lunchtime social to celebrate Valentine's Day! Students decorated heart cookies, made friendship bracelets, and cards.

Upcoming Events

April 2: Junior Field Trip to Genentech

April 23: Senior Fun Day at the Oakland Zoo

May 10: Happy Hour Cereal Bar

May 24: Junior Mentor Breakfast

June 5: BTI Graduation for the Class of 2024


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

Mentor Coordinator: Oscar 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