Dr. Peter Schaefer and Hudson Valley Science Programs

Dr. Peter Schaefer, Chairperson of the Biology, Chemistry, and Physics Department, was originally trained as a physiologist. Now at Hudson Valley, he is a teacher and an advocate for a community presence at HVCC and in the scientific areas.

Previously a resident of Long Island, Dr. Schaefer relocated to the area because he was looking for a good place to raise his children. An opportunity came when he applied to his position at HVCC.

“[I like it here] very much. I like the connections with higher education, the public schools and the industry.” Dr. Schaefer said. “Science is something everyone should have to make informed decisions. There are a lot of good jobs out there and it’s a field with broad applications. Biotechnology has a lot of opportunities…[and] my goal is to draw everyone closer to together so we can all work together. I like the concept of a community college.”

Just like the recently renovated science center, the science fields are also expanding and the opportunities available seem almost limitless. “[Some of the entry level jobs include] laboratory work, chemical analysis, and genetics…There are at least 2 dozen grads working w/ the state police crime investigation lab which is a very challenging and rewarding job. There is also Regeneron, a biopharmaceutical company, the labs at Albany med, and UAlbany. [At lot of these positions tend to start at] 35,000-45,000 [entry level] and there are good opportunities for advancement. Usually it can move as fast as 6 months, they want to get to know you first and see how you work. Often times they pay for your advance level courses.”

But why should you choose a career in science or biotechnology? For some it may be as easy as deciding whether or not you want to do something meaningful. “[Science makes a contribution to society]. [New developments in science include] dna coding for Ebola virus has discovered that the virus is mutating rapidly.” The research that people are putting in is helping to save lives. Simply consider vaccinations. There have been concerns in the medical community whether or not vaccines are safe or are they bringing us closer to a super virus.

“[Getting vaccinated is an important to staying healthy and not spreading disease. ] [I think this] fear that [stems] from vaccinations comes from people with little knowledge on what’s going on. [I think it started from an article that was published on how vaccines may lead to autism. When that came out it was quickly reported by later discovered it was not accurate- although the latter information was not released. Get vaccinated not just for the safety of others but your own safety.]” Vaccines are just one example of how the area of science has help changed our lives.

If anyone is interested in joining the biotech program “the best place to start would be to get advisement. Advisors have experience and come from different careers and can talk about careers and career opportunities. You need a good foundation to be admitted into the program, good basic skills, basic math and writing skills.”

“This building has been a great opportunity for students with the new expansion. Great learning environment, state of the art labs, students from all ages.” Night courses are currently available and in the future there will be more flexibility through “stackable modules” which will be 6 week classes that can taken in succession or with breaks in between. “We often think of college students as being young but we see a lot of people coming here to get ahead in their careers or people who raised families first and are returning.”

Future grants are in the works and it’s likely the department could continue to expand to meet the demand of more students and the ever evolving field of science.

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