Inspiring the Next Generation

I grew up with science role models who happened to be my parents. My dad was an engineering dean and professor and my mom was a math major. They endured my love of science fiction and encouraged my studies in bioengineering. With their support and experience, I knew a career in science and technology was not only possible, but that it could also be rewarding and exciting.

More recently, my daughter and I made antibodies out of pipe cleaners for her elementary school class. It was wonderful to see her and her classmates excited about science. She is fortunate to have exposure to science education at school and at home. This combination of hands-on enrichment and mentors helps set her on a path to explore science and other subjects with the confidence to succeed.

We know that if more young people today were given the opportunity to learn how exciting science can be, they could open a world of possibilities offered by careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Children at birth are natural scientists, engineers, and problem-solvers
-National Center for STEM elementary Education in Minnesota
By eighth grade, almost 50 percent of students have lost interest or deemed it irrelevant to their education for future plans.
-National Center for STEM Elementary Education
Only 233,000 of 3.8 million (6%) 9th graders ultimately choose a STEM degree in college.
-National Science Board

That's why we started Futurelab.

A collaboration between Genentech and the South San Francisco Unified School District, Futurelab will provide opportunities for students at every grade level to engage in STEM. Genentech has called South San Francisco home for nearly 40 years, so it was only natural that we reach out to our neighbors for this partnership. The program also aims to better equip teachers to nurture scientific curiosity in their students, which is what we see in the best scientists. To help people with serious diseases and to push the boundaries of science, we must cultivate thinkers who experiment and learn from successes and failures alike.

We’re building on existing programs, like Gene Academy, and expanding into science competitions, plans to build a state-of-the-art biotech classroom space at South San Francisco High School, and a biotech curriculum for the district.

Our ability to continue making advances that lead to big breakthroughs depends on the next generation. The skills learned in early science education can be valuable for many types of careers. By investing in science and technology programs for young women and men, we can build not only a pipeline of future scientists, engineers, and doctors, but also a society of well-informed leaders in politics, law, and business.

The leaders of tomorrow are being inspired in classrooms today, and we want South San Francisco students to be among them. Building on Genentech’s long-standing commitment to STEM education, we aim to bring science in the classroom to life and develop a new generation of leaders who pursue science to make an impact in our world.