Albright College sparks STEM thinking in K-12 students

As the oldest college in Berks County, Albright College is constantly evolving to meet the needs of the future. Today, key structural projects are being designed to connect all of the different ways that students learn in the 21st century. 

One of those projects involves the expansion Albright’s Science Research Institute (SRI) – an elite program for K-12 grade students to create self-directed research projects in biomedical, genetic, environmental, agricultural, biotechnology and materials sciences. Within the program, students can also explore dance, art, music, the humanities, culinary arts and fashion through SRI projects.

Located in northeast Reading, 25,000 square feet of open space within the Leo Camp Building on Albright College’s campus is earmarked to become the innovative program’s new home.

“SRI is one of the most exciting projects driving the reinvention of Berks County as a hub of innovation and creativity,” says Kevin Murphy, president and CEO of the Berks County Community Foundation. “Making the Camp Building into a home worthy of that effort will accelerate our progress and allow us to expand the number of students who can participate.”

The renovation will include state-of-the-art science and technology laboratory and research spaces designed to create an environment that encourages innovation, complemented by access to research-grade equipment, exposure to cutting-edge technology, and introductions to modern sciences by skilled mentors.

“A unique combination of industry-grade equipment — and safety features designed specifically for middle and high school students — will make this facility a one-of-a-kind in the United States,” said Adelle L. Schade, dean of pre-college and summer programs and director of SRI at Albright.

Highlights include:

  • Cell culture facilities
  • Materials and glass science laboratory
  • Advanced imaging equipment (electron microscope, confocal and fluorescence imaging)
  • A greenhouse to incorporate horticulture and agricultural sciences
  • Laboratories dedicated to computer science, 3D printing and design, histology, etc.
  • Large common areas to encourage interaction and collaboration

Later phases will expand Science Research Institute’s footprint within the building and add spaces to support other Albright programs, for more synergistic SRI collaborations. These projections include a flexible theater performance area, classrooms, laboratories and studio spaces for music industry studies, fashion and digital communications.

“As the oldest college in Reading, Pa., Albright College’s longstanding commitment to science and workforce development continues today,” says Karen Campbell, Ph.D., provost, senior vice president for academic affairs, dean of the faculty and P. Kenneth Nase M.D. ’55 chair of biology. “We are committed to educating students of academic promise and to enhancing Reading’s reputation as an innovation center.”