Keeping pace with the future

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Joanie Morris
CONCORD ó Biotechnology education and jobs won’t be limited to four-year degrees with the opening of the North Carolina Research Campus this fall.
Changes all over the county make that clear, and now the Cabarrus College of Health Science is out to prove it as well.
The college ó associated with Carolinas Medical Center-NorthEast and most well-known among education healthcare professionals ó has recently added a new biotechnology track to offer a solid foundation in working in the sciences.
John Kapp, program chair for the associate in science program at the Cabarrus College of Health Science, said the North Carolina Research Campus will be very successful. He hopes the new track at the college will help fill a need at the campus for biotechnology workers.
“The approach we used to it was designed to be consistent with the mission of the college,” said Kapp. That mission is excellence in health-care delivery, similar to the mission at the hospital.
The associate in science ó a two-year degree program at the college ó is designed to prepare students with a comprehensive curriculum in science. There are two areas of interest students can enter into in obtaining an associate in science. The “pre-professional” track prepares students for entry into a clinical program at the college. The “life science” track provides foundation knowledge in biological science and an introduction to laboratory techniques of biotechnology.
The track will prepare students for careers in biology or further study at a four-year institution.
The biotechnology track should be under way this year, with several new classes being offered at the college as part of the two-year degree program. Students will take basic courses in biotechnology, chemistry and mathematics, as well as two classes that Kapp said are “very important to biotechnology.”
Genetics ó with an emphasis on molecular genetics ó and cell biology ó where laboratory exercises designed to introduce the fundamentals of biotechnology will be used ó are both going to be offered this year.
College officials anticipate the first students will graduate from the degree program in two years, however Kapp said if a student is already in a program with some of the required courses and wishes to transfer into the biotechnology track, “potentially there could be students finishing in spring 2009.”
Kapp said since the announcement about the biotechnology track was made in late June, there are already students interested in the degree, which can be used in obtaining a job at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis.
“This is an emerging center for biotechnology,” said Kapp about the center. “It think it’s going to be very successful. One of the advantages that it has is the close affiliation with the four-year institutions in North Carolina.”
Kapp said with the college’s partnership with CMC-NorthEast and the hospital’s partnership with the N.C. Research Campus. “We’d very much like to be a part of that in some way.”
Courses offered in the associate in science program include an introduction to biology, chemistry, microbiology, nutrition, cell biology, genetics and college algebra, in addition to other general education credits.
Cabarrus College will host an open house Tuesday from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Prospective students are invited to attend and talk with faculty in the associate in science program and learn more about applying for admission or registering as a non-degree student for the fall semester.
For more information on the college or degree, call 704-783-1556 or visit