from Montgomery County Media | see video >
MdBio Foundation on Tuesday displayed its new $750,000 mobile laboratory that provides high school students with science and technology activities to get them involved in STEM careers.
STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — is where high-paying jobs will be, said Brian Gaines, MdBio’s CEO.
“Kids get out of their classrooms and into the lab so they can do hands-on activities that hopefully spur their interest and excitement so they’ll work in a STEM career,” Gaines said. The trailer-mounted lab was parked in the parking lot of Johns Hopkins University’s Rockville campus.
The 1,000-square-foot MXLab can accommodate 40 students, and it stays at schools free of charge generally for a week. Activities include traditional biology and chemistry, as well as cybersecurity and coding. The lab includes touch-screen televisions, Internet access and laboratory equipment.
Gaines said it was the largest mobile STEM lab in the country.
It joins another MdBio mobile lab that visited Maryland schools over 15 years and reaching more than 150,000 students, Gaines said. The existing lab could be directed toward work force development activities, he said.
“We are still determining what we’re going to do with our current vehicle,” he said.
The new lab is being used now as a pilot. It will visit Einstein High School in Kensington later this year, he said.
It will be available across the state during the next school year. MdBio operates online registration on Aug. 1. It starts at 9 a.m., and the schedule for the year is filled within 10 or 15 minutes, Gaines said.