A new program in the Olathe School District will connect students to both Kansas State University research and the $16.8 billion global animal health market, said Dan Richardson, chief executive officer of the K-State Olathe Innovation Campus.
The Olathe district and K-State are collaborating to offer a special, hands-on animal sciences program to Olathe high school students, beginning in fall 2009. The program -- the newest in the district's 21st Century High School Programs -- will introduce students to the broad range of career choices the animal sciences industry has to offer.
"K-State is excited about this partnership and providing one-of-a-kind experiences to students in Olathe," said Duane Nellis, K-State provost and senior vice president. "This joint initiative will allow students with a passion in animal health and services, or in general science, to explore one of the nation's largest industries."
Through the collaboration, K-State and the Olathe district have developed a curriculum that combines science course work with special extended learning experiences through the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor, a partnership of companies and universities specializing in animal sciences, the K-State Innovation Campus in Olathe and the main K-State campus in Manhattan. The program will explore such topics as biotechnology, veterinary medicine, ecology, genetics, anatomy and physiology, agriculture, nutrition, food science and safety, animal behavior, public health, epidemiology and disease control, sports science, animal rehabilitation, and animal grooming.
Students will be given the opportunity to work alongside K-State researchers on local and national projects that are both grant-funded and funded through the university.
"Projects will range from studying the beneficial effects of medicine on animals to genetics and rehabilitation," said Teresa Woods, K-state coordinator of the K-State-Olathe education partnership.
Students also may work with industry leaders through the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor, which stretches between Manhattan, Kan., and Columbia, Mo., and is the largest concentration of animal health interests in the world. The corridor provides nearly 34 percent of total sales in the global health market, giving Olathe students access to some of the best organizations in the world.
"The K-State presence in the Animal Health Corridor will allow us to match students with organizations in their area of interest in animal sciences and services," said Lisa Freeman, K-State associate vice president for innovation. "Students will have unmatched opportunities to tour facilities and be mentored by some of the best researchers in the world."
"Hands-on, real-world learning is a promise that we made to our community in 2003 and we have been able to keep that promise through partnerships and initiatives such as this one with K-State," said Pat All, superintendent of the Olathe School District. "We look forward to launching the animal sciences program and continuing to develop other programs with K-State."
"This program is a great addition to the science curriculum in the Olathe School District and enhances many other 21st Century programs offered at Olathe North High School and across the district," said Carol Williamson, district science coordinator.
The K-State Innovation Campus and Olathe district officials plan to expand this partnership to include other high school programs, along with extended opportunities for all students and staff in the district.
"The partnership will strive to provide a model for pre-collegiate outreach that focuses on science, technology, math and engineering," Richardson said. "Olathe teachers will have opportunities to connect their classrooms to projects that promote a shared vision of scientific and mathematical literacy."
The 21st Century Programs, a districtwide initiative, allow students to complete their high school education while engaging in programs that fit their personal interests and needs. The programs are available to all high school students living in the Olathe district boundaries.