October 27, 2021

While in high school, Angel Rangel Chavez had heard good things about Century, and made up his mind to pursue his nursing degree at the College.  However, with the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, Angel decided to temporarily put his nursing education on hold. 

While taking his nursing prerequisite courses, his Biology teacher had told him about Century’s new Biofabrication Technologist certificate.  In January 2021, Angel decided to join the biofabrication program. 

“Faculty member Randy Jasken was a great source of help and information,” Angel notes. “You get really good instruction in the program, and he always comes up with ways to help you understand better.”

Opportunities in a New Field

Angel was in the right place and time in pursing his biofabrication certificate.  In a first-time collaboration between Century College and the University of Wisconsin, River Falls, a small team of Century students was selected to work on a research project involving biofabrication.  Dr. Timothy Lyden, UWRF, directed the 10-week internship, which focused on skin cancer research.

Angel was on the team of interns who worked in Dr. Lyden’s lab in River Falls.  Back at Century College, the biofabrication interns learned to create designs using 3D printers, which could then be used in the laboratory in River Falls.  They learned techniques in bioprinting artificial tissues.  “We got lots of good experience, and Dr. Lyden was a good mentor,” Angel says.  “You never get bored working in a lab, doing research.  We designed prints using bioprinting, and our research had lots of surprising results and outcomes and variables.  The work we did is pioneering.”

One of the best outcomes of the internship for Angel was learning the importance of working together and sharing information.  “All the interns had great communication skills and teamwork,” Angel says.  “They were always willing to help each other out, and were very open-minded.  It was a really good team.  I got great experience and saw just how teamwork makes a project like that better.”

He adds, “I used to be shy.  It was hard for me to ask questions.  After working with Dr. Lyden and the team, my communication skills improved.” 

Angel will finish his biofabrication coursework next year, and knows he will be one of the first Century College graduates to receive this innovative new certificate.  He hopes to eventually get more involved in science.  Adding biofabrication skills to his nursing education will open more doors in the future for him.  “Everything is new in this field,” he observes. “And I’m so glad to have had the biofabrication internship experience.”  

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