Science Skills Lab Expands In Space And Time

a star lit night sky and a crescent moon

Forsyth Tech has given new meaning to the term “group accom­modations” with the introduction of doubled capacity and increased hours in the college’s multidisciplinary Science Skills Lab (SSL).

Located in the Oak Grove Center, the lab is open to students enrolled in biology, chemistry, anatomy, physiology and biotechnology classes. “Our aim is to enable students to complete the lab requirements for their courses in a flexible environment,” says Cheryl Burrell, Ph.D., Science Skills Laboratory coordinator and chair of biotechnology. Students can carry out lab experiments in the SSL either individually or in small groups or use smaller lab facilities that each bioscience and life-science department operates.

Before the multidisciplinary lab opened, students could only complete lab assignments in departmental labs. But since the multidisciplinary SSL, funded by a $15 million Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, opened in 2013 with lab space for 24 students, they have been able to choose either type of lab.

During the 2016 spring semester, the SSL opened a second space that accommodates an additional 24 students. That brings the com­bined total capacity for the two multidisciplinary spaces to 48 students.

The lab is open with extended hours Monday through Friday and will be open on Saturday mornings starting this fall.

Forsyth Tech is justifiably proud of having created the first lab of its kind in higher education to operate on such a broad scale. Which, of course, is good news for students. So is the fact that the SSL is so popular, the college has decided to continue funding it when the grant ends later this year. The college is currently conducting an analysis of the times the lab is open and will make changes as indicated by student needs.