Letter From the Amgen Foundation President

Science Education

Letter From the Amgen Foundation President

3/1/2015 8:58:00 AM

Eduardo Cetlin, President of the Amgen Foundation

Eduardo Cetlin
President of the Amgen Foundation

Amgen was founded more than 30 years ago with the incredible ambition of unlocking the power of biology to help create lifesaving medicines. Now the world’s largest independent biotechnology company, Amgen has reached millions of patients globally and continues to develop a pipeline of promising medicines. Scientific expertise is in our DNA, and our scientists and staff are the engines that propel this enterprise forward.

Looking beyond our company and even the biotech industry, we need an educated workforce to ensure that scientific innovations continue. Innovation does not happen in a vacuum. It requires creativity, content expertise, and a willingness to take risks and think outside the box. While we must support those who will drive innovation in the future, we also need to deepen scientific understanding among all citizens – as they will be the ones to ultimately support it.

Recognizing this, the Amgen Foundation aims to inspire and prepare the next generation of innovators who will improve lives. To ensure our commitments have the most impact, the Foundation started by asking: How can we make sure that students have access to the strongest possible opportunities to experience real-world science and careers?

To help us answer this question, we started with data. Key research in education shows:

  • Professional development for teachers matters. A recent study by Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)1 found that one of the most effective ways to increase teacher quality, as well as their impact on students, was by supporting and continuing training throughout their careers. It is extremely important to support science educators with meaningful professional development and mentoring opportunities, as well as classroom resources, so they can engage their students in building scientific knowledge by learning to reason in a systematic manner.
  • Hands-on experience for students matters. The National Research Council (NRC)2 found that effective laboratory experiences have the potential to enhance students’ understanding of fundamental concepts, grasp the complexity of research, assist in developing scientific skills, and foster their interest in scientific careers. There is simply no better way to create those unforgettable “aha!” moments than when students use their own hands to make science come alive.

Leveraging these insights, the Amgen Foundation created a two-pronged approach to inspire the next generation of innovators: (1) investing in and supporting science teachers; and (2) creating hands-on opportunities for students. We advance this work through a suite of STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education initiatives such as Amgen Scholars, Amgen Biotech Experience, and Khan Academy. To date, we’ve committed more than $130 million to support science education and have reached over four million students globally. I encourage you to watch this video to hear directly from several of the teachers and students we’re proud to support, and how these programs have inspired them.

At Amgen, we know what can be achieved when people discover a passion for science. I’ve been blown away by the impact of these programs and invite you to learn more about them through exploring this website.

Eduardo Cetlin
President, Amgen Foundation

  1. Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (2011). Building a High-Quality Teaching Profession: Lessons from Around the World. Retrieved from https://www2.ed.gov/about/inits/ed/internationaled/background.pdf
  2. Singer, S.R., Hilton, M.L, & Schweingruber, H.A., Committee on High School Science Laboratories: Role and Vision, National Research Council (Eds.). (2005). America's Lab Report: Investigations in High School Science. Retrieved from http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11311