Albuquerque Technical Vocational Institute (TVI) has developed a collaboration with the National Science Foundation (NSF) Center for Biophotonics Science and Technology (CBST) headquartered at the University of California, Davis in order to develop a transportable biophotonics curriculum for community colleges. A "Biophotonics Option" has been developed within the well-established Photonics Technology Degree program at TVI, centered on two elective courses ("Introduction to Biophotonics" and "Biophotonics Applications"). In addition, TVI is a part of the "Albuquerque Model" that involves exposure to photonics education from the middle school level through graduate education at the University of New Mexico.
Albuquerque Technical Vocational Institute (TVI) is collaborating with the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded Center for Biophotonics Science and Technology (CBST) headquartered at the University of California, Davis in order to develop a biophotonics curriculum for community colleges nationwide. TVI began the formal collaboration to bring about critically needed training and education that will ultimately create new jobs and employment opportunities in the field of biophotonics. "Biophotonics" is the science of generating and harnessing light to detect, image and manipulate biological materials. CBST chose TVI as a partner because of the Institute's current high-level photonics and biotechnology programs. In addition, TVI is a part of the "Albuquerque Model" that involves exposure to photonics education from the middle school level through graduate education at the University of New Mexico. Three middle schools feed into the West Mesa High School Photonics Academy, whose students then move on to TVI for advanced training. CBST brings together scientists, industry, educators and the community to research and develop applications for biophotonics. Roughly 100 researchers-including physical scientists, life scientists, physicians and engineers from UC Davis, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco, Alabama A&M University, Stanford University, University of Texas at San Antonio, Fisk University and Mills College-are collaborating in this rapidly developing area of research. Applications of biophotonics range from using light to image or selectively treat tumors, to sequencing DNA and identifying single biomolecules within cells.
The place of Albuquerque TVI Community College in the ladder of photonics education in New Mexico is presented. TVI has offered photonics courses since the late 70s. These courses formed the first rung of what has developed into a ladder of photonics educational opportunities in New Mexico, ranging from middle and high school initiatives to university programs. Details of how TVI established its current Photonics Technology Program and a description of this program are presented. Two key elements of success in photonics education are emphasized - excellence in teaching traditional and non-traditional students of diverse educational backgrounds, and involvement and feedback from industry in shaping educational and training programs in photonics.