Arete Education has officially partnered with RTW Charitable Foundation to launch the BioQuest program!
RTW Investments invests in biomedical research and products in order to add value to people’s lives. RTW Charitable Foundation extends the RTW Investments mission to include building a sense of community through establishing different health-based initiatives in underserved communities. All of this is done to advance science and research while also addressing urgent public health needs.
RTW Charitable Foundation first began to work with Arete during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, RTW provided Arete with a grant because they wanted to fund grassroots work focused on removing barriers that prevent children in temporary housing from receiving educational support during the pandemic. Arete was identified as a grassroots organization working in the South Bronx during this difficult time. In the end, $75,000 was allocated towards developing a high-touch and wrap-around support program, The Arete Hope Network, for 30 families in the South Bronx and Harlem, mostly F&T families.
After the peak of the pandemic, RTW Charitable Foundation shifted back towards its main work in funding biomedical research and projects alike. This year, they launched the BioQuest program - an initiative in STEM education for middle and high school students - in collaboration with Arete Education, Hunts Point Alliance for Children, Weill Cornell, and BioBus. RTW Charitable Foundation reached out to Arete over the summer to invite students from the Bronx to enroll in a year-long program receiving STEM educational and mentoring experiences. This was an amazing opportunity for Arete and the students we serve as 1) we have never partnered with Weill Cornell or BioBus and 2) F&T students would be gaining an expansive exposure to the STEM field: engaging in enrichment activities to encourage and inspire an interest in science, biotech, and medicine while also building relationships with mentors and other students with expertise and interest in these fields.
The first event to this program was held on September 9th, 2023 where students participating in the BioQuest program were invited, along with their families, to attend a Kick-off Breakfast. This first meeting was a nice way to launch the year-long program as students and families got the opportunity to get to know about the program and get to know each other. The ice breaker and scavenger hunt activities allowed the students and families to go around and network with one another, and it was a nice way to make parents and families feel included as they got to know who their children will be surrounded by in the program. Volunteers also set up backpacks for the participants containing STEM and back-to-school materials. They were distributed towards the end of the breakfast and sent off for the Back-to-School Fair and BioBus event, in collaboration with Hunts Point Alliance for Children.
What’s next for these students? The BioQuest program has scheduled 6 events in total: 3 in the fall and 3 in the spring. The next event was a Career Day held on October 5 at RTW Investments in Chelsea. Future events include visiting JLABS with Johnson & Johnson, a BioBus event (mobile lab with interactive + scientific activities), exploring lab spaces at Weill Cornell, and a Science Museum Field Trip.
Arete is proud to be deepening its relationship with RTW Charitable Foundation and its respective partnerships in order to broaden in terms of science in research and biomedicine. This amazing collaboration will give new pathways to young students for STEM-specific career opportunities and push the boundaries on what is possible for students beyond high school. This program also supports Arete’s mission with its partner school, The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology, of shifting to more career-connected learning as a way to address the experience gap our students face. This is a major step towards inaugurating an afterschool curriculum that prepares students to enter the workforce and provides opportunities for career exposure in a new area: medicine, biomedical research, and biotech investments.