In 2008, Baxter launched Science@Work: Expanding Minds with Real-World Science, a multi-year partnership with Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to support teacher training and student development in biotechnology. Since the program's inception, Science@Work has reached more than 56,000 students and 650 teachers in 213 schools. Baxter has hosted 45 biotechnology events for teachers and students including lab tours, lectures, career days and problem-based learning projects, including an experiment to help students understand how easily bacteria are transferred from humans to objects.
One key aspect of Baxter's Science@Work program is providing students and teachers with opportunities to experience science first-hand, through interactions with Baxter professionals. These employees share their expertise in hopes of enabling future generations to advance medicine, technology and engineering.
In October 2010, six Baxter scientists embarked on the Illinois Innovation Talent Program (ILIT) sponsored by iBIO Institute EDUCATE Center, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Math and Science Academy. The seven-month high school mentoring program is a problem-based learning (PBL) model, where students are assigned complex, challenging problems and collaboratively work toward their resolution. Through a process that incorporates research, curiosity, analysis and observation, the students are 'learning how to learn' by letting their questions guide their solutions.
The volunteers were paired with high school students from Lindblom Math and Science Academy, Dunbar Vocational Career Academy and Morgan Park High School. The high school team projects provided diverse, creative and varied solutions for chemotherapy administration in the home, diabetes infusion devices and managing medication disposal in an environmentally-friendly way. In May 2011, about 50 students in three teams presented their solutions to Baxter's Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Norbert Riedel and Chief Executive Officer Robert L. Parkinson, Jr.
"We want to provide a forum for students to learn," Parkinson said. "By providing the right opportunities and helping to motivate, we can help the next generation fulfill their potential."