BTI pathway offers students more academic options


Taisiia Yakovenko

Sophomore Biotechnology I/II for BTI class works on one of their labs. “In this lab we learned how to use pipettes properly so that we can measure really small amounts of liquid for the next lab work.” said Lucas Eden, a sophomore.

Every sophomore at Carlmont has an opportunity to become a part of the Biotechnology Institute (BTI) program curriculum, but not many know what BTI actually is. 

BTI is a three-year program offered to sophomores at Carlmont in an attempt to get them more interested in the STEM curriculum. 

“Our students take science-themed English and social studies classes as well as a series of biotechnology classes. BTI teachers across the disciplines collaborate to create assignments that encourage cross-curricular connections,” said Sara Gold, a BTI English teacher. “For example, in the Biotechnology 3-4 class, students create environmentally-friendly household cleaners, and in the English III class, they create ad campaigns for their products.”

When the program was first introduced to Carlmont in 2017, its main goal was to introduce students to possible STEM-related careers. 

“The BTI program has a significant career exploration component,” Gold said. “Students get the opportunity to interact with many professionals in the scientific community through the mentor program, which includes a job shadow day. They also participate in an on-campus symposium and take field trips to science museums and biotechnology companies.”

In their attempts to expose students to the STEM field, the program steps away from the conventional school curriculum. 

“The academic curriculum has some obvious differences, such as science-based English and history,” said Alyana Castillo, a junior. “However, it isn’t always about biotechnology and science in those classes. Most of the time they resemble normal high school classes and follow the same lesson plan as most regular curriculum classes.”

In addition, students who are involved in the program build a unique community since they correspond with one another in the majority of their academic classes and other BTI activities

“The best thing about BTI is the connections that you have with all of your teachers and the rest of your classmates, kind of like that family feeling,” said Anthony Saadeh, a senior. “We know that we have all of our classes with our friends and it’s easier to talk to your teachers and get help. We have very open classrooms and it’s very nice.”

The program has plenty of opportunities for those who are interested in STEM, but it might have some downsides. 

“I wanted to become a part of BTI when I was a sophomore but I decided against it after I found out that I could not take AP English or history classes,” said Erica Mendiola, a senior. “History and English have always been my favorite subjects and I wanted to take them as AP classes.”

Students who want to become a part of the program should consider their options and decide on their academic and social priorities. 

“My advice for someone who is considering the program would be to make sure that they are doing it for the right reasons and not because their counselor suggested it. It would not be as fun,” Castillo said. “As long as you are dedicated and love what BTI has to offer then you will have the best years of your life.”