This past Saturday was a nerve-wracking day for a number of high school students across the country. That’s because three regions in the U.S. held their competitions for the 2009 sanofi-aventis International BioGENEius Challenge. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this annual competition, it recognizes high school students in the United States, Canada and Western Australia who demonstrate an exemplary understanding of biotechnology through science research projects. After all, we want to continue to attract the best and brightest to our industry — and this competition certainly does that! The competition is tough, really tough. Students are evaluated not only on the quality of their research and display but also on their responses to questions relating to their scientific knowledge and potential commercial applications of their research. I know I would not have been up to this arduous challenge, especially as a mere high school student! The Challenge has been fortunate to have strong and long-standing support from organizations that recognize the value and importance of nurturing brilliant young minds and encouraging them to pursue a career in biotechnology. The sanofi-aventis International BioGENEius Challenge is organized by the Biotechnology Institute, the national organization dedicated to biotechnology education, and it is sponsored by sanofi-aventis and its vaccines division, sanofi pasteur. Winners from a total of six regions in the United States along with their counterparts in Canada and Western Australia move on to the final round of judging, which takes place each year at the BIO International Convention. In fact, the winners will be announced at the Tuesday, May 19th keynote luncheon in Atlanta. I’m really looking forward to meeting the newest crop of future (hopefully!) biotech employees. Hope to see everyone there!