Senior achievements Carlmont's Biotechnology Institute: A Parent & Community Newsletter

Note from the editor

Volume 3 Issue 4

This is the final edition for the 2020-2021 school year. I will end it where I began. Despite the havoc caused by Covid and its impact on our educational norms, we couldn't be more proud of how our teens endured and even thrived. With the herculean efforts of all, our BTI students adjusted to a home-based science curriculum and achieved the learning outcomes unique to BTI. This edition is dedicated to our graduated seniors, so grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and enjoy reading some reflections of our seniors, learn of their future college plans, and be amazed by the final biotech products that they developed. This edition also features what other BTI students were up to this spring and also welcomes in the new Class of 2024.

Griffin & Jack, the President and VP of the BTI Club, will kick off this senior edition.

Note from two graduating bti seniors

Griffin & Jack - president/VP of BTI Club

Throughout three years of the Biotechnology Institute, the class of 2021 has come a long way. Our first day of Biotechnology 1-2 involved carrying a tube full of curdling milk under our armpit. Now, BTI seniors have successfully designed, manufactured, and validated their own products from scratch through the capstone Biomanufacturing project. Along the way, we’ve learned dozens of scientific techniques: from gel electrophoresis to spectrophotometer analysis — opportunities most high school students could only dream of obtaining. But that’s not all; not even close. Outside the lab, we’ve explored the bioethics of relevant topics like preimplantation genetic diagnosis and drawn connections from science fiction worlds to our own. We’ve even created our own utopian high schools and held a mock trial for Victor Frankenstein.

While the classes are a large part of the program, the BTI experience goes well beyond coursework. It is a tight-knit community of like-minded students exploring the world of science through study nights, field trips, and career events. Additionally, the BTI mentor program pairs students with industry professionals to facilitate growth and explore new fields.

The in-person aspect of BTI was cut short by Covid forcing us into lockdown, but despite these trying times, we persevered and continued our exploration of science. We took part of the Biotechnology Institute home with us through at-home lab kits and discovered emerging fields through the BTI club. From bioengineering to personal genomics, distinct professionals shared their expertise — letting us ponder what the near and far future will become with these new technologies. Even though the road ahead seems uncertain, one thing is for sure, BTI has given us invaluable skills, memories, and friendships.

Jack - VP & Griffin - President of BTI Club

Introducing our bti senior Graduates

Class of 2021 - BTI Graduation

The spectacular team of BTI teachers honored the graduating Class of 2021 via ZOOM, fitting for a most unusual year. With thoughtful words of pride and encouragement, Ms. Abdilla and Ms. Gold, the directors of BTI, acknowledged their hard work and success and ended the BTI graduation with a wonderful slideshow. Below is a link with a personalized slide for each graduate. The final slide includes a video of memories and music. Watch it again!

Carlmont high school graduation

June 4, 2021

Let's hear it for our BTI graduates!

off to college

Thoughts & plans from our seniors

My name is Arianna, and I am a senior in BTI. I will be attending UC Davis in the fall, and I plan on majoring in Biological Systems Engineering. BTI has helped me discover where my passions lie. Through the multiple tours and Zoom calls with biotech companies, I was able to narrow down my interests. In February of this year, we were able to speak with employees from CytomX, a company focused on creating therapeutic antibodies for cancer treatments. I was inspired by all of the innovative ideas their scientists were working on. I wanted to look into other ways scientists, like myself, could use biological systems to our advantage. I want to thank all of the teachers in BTI that have created wonderful opportunities and helped me throughout my time at Carlmont.

When I first joined BTI, I had no clue how life-changing it would be. Looking back, the number of opportunities to explore science firsthand was staggering. To pick just one, sophomore year I met the CEO of a bioprinting company at a biotech symposium, which blossomed into an internship — an experience that taught me so much and would have never happened without BTI’s amazing connections. From the caring teachers and mentors to passionate science-minded students, I was nurtured into the person I am today: A person who is ecstatic to explore the world of human health through a biosciences major at Rice University!

I'm Alyana and I will be attending UC Davis next fall as a biological sciences major on the pre-med track. BTI has done so much for me and really helped me reach this point in my life. The program has provided me with the building blocks and tools that I will apply during my college courses, and I believe it has opened up so many opportunities for me to grow and to learn more about the science industry. I have grown so much as a person, and I have BTI to thank for that. The connections and friendships I made along the way are things that I will never take for granted. It is such a unique and outstanding program and I will forever be grateful for it.

BTI has been an incredible opportunity to learn about and explore biotechnology. I found a passion for industry-related fields like bioinformatics and genomics through the labs, field trips, and mentor program. I hope to build on what I've learned in BTI while studying biology at UCSB's College of Creative Studies.

I am going to Oregon State University to study marine biology. The BTI program got my attention because of its small, science-based learning community. Aspects of BTI like the mentor program helped me practice networking, and with classes like history and English that incorporated science topics, it helped further my interest in STEM. When it came time to choose a major for college, my three years in BTI helped me navigate potential pathways and identify marine biology as a major I am excited to pursue.

I am going to UC Davis in the Fall and will be studying Environmental Science and Management. BTI helped me realize that science is something that I wanted to pursue in college. The BTI teachers helped me a lot and were all very supportive and good at keeping students engaged. I really enjoyed the connection between science, history, and English classes because it allowed us to expand our knowledge about science and how it connected to and affected these other subjects.

I plan to attend The University of Nevada, Reno where I will study psychology. Joining BTI was the main part of my high school experience. Having the opportunity to study science with other students who were just as passionate made the experience even more enjoyable. The BTI classes that were offered to only BTI students made us a close group of friends. As I move forward in life, I will always remember the BTI program as a happy, and unforgettable experience.

I'm going to UC Davis in the fall and will be studying biochemical engineering. BTI really helped me find something that I was good at and enjoyed doing, and gave me a direction for what I wanted to study after high school. BTI also helped me stay engaged in my history and English classes since we were able to add components of science, like discussing ethical dilemmas or scientific advancements. All of the BTI teachers were also very supportive of us and made learning easy and fun.

For me, BTI was something to look forward to every day. Waking up and seeing the same group of kids and teachers that I had built a bond with over 3 years. It wasn’t about the classes, the content, or the grades for me, it was always about the community of BTI. I am grateful for all the experiences BTI provided me with and the life lessons I learned in my time with the program. I will be attending and playing D1 lacrosse for the University of Utah next year. Sko Utes!

the class of 2021 will be attending these colleges


Biomanufacturing is a college-level capstone course for BTI students where they leverage their three years of skill development, academic knowledge, creativity, and ingenuity to conduct biological research, development, production, testing, and analysis of their own biotechnology product. Moreover, once their product is developed, students produce all the marketing components for their product including its name, label, packaging and financial analysis needed for bringing their product to market. This year, students also made a two-minute Shark Tank video to encourage investors to back their product! So fun! The Biomanufacturing course, a dual-credit course, is co-taught by Ms. Burndon, a Carlmont teacher and Dr. Kapp, a Skyline College professor.

products by bti seniors

prepare to be impressed

Senior shark Tank

The BTI seniors created Shark Tank investment pitches for their Bio-Manufacturing Project and had tons of fun making them. Their goal was to persuade the Sharks to invest in their company. The ones with a green background were selected by their classmates as most likely to be funded by the Sharks, and the gold medal on the slide indicates the winner for each class. Make sure you click on the link...they are really fun to watch!

Senior Luncheon

OUr newest bti member

Hello baby theo - ms. burndon

Theodore is a delightful BTI baby. He has inherited a loud voice, a sweet smile, strong opinions, and infectious laughter. He loves exploring the world by staring at and trying to touch everything. He’s an excellent scientist already, running experiments on his parents about what happens if he knocks a toy on the ground repeatedly, makes startlingly high pitched noises when playing, or smiles and coos when we try to put him down for naps. Theo is looking forward to attending many future BTI events.

goodbye, Ms. Manuel

thank you

Goodbye, Ms. Manuel - Ms. Julie Manuel is also graduating with the class of 2021 and will be moving on to Middle College. We all appreciate the way she was able to seamlessly and innovatively link science and social studies.

incoming class of 2024 - social event

On June 3, after their last final exam, the Class of 2024 had their first BTI social event. The students started the afternoon as strangers, but during a quick game of Get-to-Know-You Bingo, they learned which of their classmates had ever thrown up or fainted in public, forgotten the name of someone they were introducing or danced the chicken dance, and they quickly started to bond and become a part of the BTI family.

BTI Juniors wrap up the year

Juniors in BT Chem worked on an Environmental Chem Solutionary research project. The task was to research an environmental problem, describe the chemistry associated with it, and evaluate potential solutions to the problem. They shared their findings with small groups during finals week.

Juniors in BTI U.S. History just wrapped up their mentor program. In spite of the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, we were still able to have and create a rich experience between the students and their mentors and received a lot of positive feedback. Of course, we look forward to next year’s mentor program where we hope to do more in-person meetings and events, but we gleaned a lot of new ideas to incorporate into the program to continue to make this a positive experience for both mentors and mentees.

Thank you Mentors!

Thank you BTI Team

BTI Power Team

So to keep it plain and simple, on behalf of the parents of BTI, we are beyond grateful for the ongoing excitement, dedication, and superior curriculum you continue to provide our BTI teens. Covid, notwithstanding, you continue to bring your A-game to this program and because of you and your dedication to the students and the program, our BTI teens are given professional development opportunities, an interdisciplinary education, and college-level science skills that are to be envied. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Director of Mentoring & Work-Based Learning

Contact Information

  • Directors of BTI: Ms. Abdilla at jabdilla@seq.org and Ms. Gold at sgold@seq.org
  • Faith Velschow - Director of Mentoring & Work-Based Learning: fvelschow@seq.org 650-464-1162
  • Kevin Marks – President of the BTI Development Committee: kevin.marks@comcast.net
  • Newsletter Editor -Cheryl Shelmadine - service@copyteclegal.com
  • Senior Parent Class Rep - Jennifer Douglis - jdouglis@smfc.k12.ca.us
  • Junior Parent Class Rep - Jennifer della Gatta - jennifer@sfdays.com
  • Sophomore Parent Class Rep - Laura Bierwagen - laurabierwagen@comcast.net

Go bti scots