BU Today

Science & Tech

SPH technician is a CityLab graduate

Sandra Bustamante-Lopez, a lab technician at SPH, is also a CityLab graduate.

Sandra Bustamante-Lopez is talking classes at BU while working as a lab technician.

Sandra Bustamante-Lopez, a 20-year-old lab technician in the department of environmental health at SPH, has come a long way from her previous job. Two years ago she was a cashier at a local supermarket. While the high school graduate could not afford college, she felt that a career in food services was not her destiny.

“One of my high school teachers told me about CityLab Academy,” she says. “Because I love math and science, I knew this program was for me.”

The training she received through CityLab Academy enables her to perform her current project, developing a vaccine for amyloidosis, a disease in which one or more organ systems in the body accumulate deposits of abnormal proteins. At night, she attends classes at BU where she is pursuing her BS in Biomedical Laboratory and Clinical Sciences.

“It’s nice to know my research could potentially improve people’s health. Everyday, I learn something new,” Bustamante-Lopez says.

Since 1996, BUSM’s CityLab Academy training program has offered qualified high school graduates the opportunity to participate in the biotechnology industry. The free nine-month academic and job-skills training program provides students with the knowledge and hands-on experience necessary for career placement as lab technicians. Students earn 12 college credits through the program. Many CityLab Academy graduates continue to pursue a bachelor of science, often at the expense of their employer.

Applications are now available for students interested in enrolling for the fall 2006 academic year. To apply, students must be a Boston resident and 18-years of age or older. For more information and to download an application to CityLab Academy, visit http. www.bu.edu/citylabacademy, or call 617-638-5664.