BioTrain interns making the grade this summer

BioTrain interns

HudsonAlpha is buzzing with BioTrain activity. The interns have completed approximately half of the summer program, which kicked off June 7 with Biotech BootCamp.

“I am happy to report that this year we have a talented, dedicated, intelligent and personable group,” said BioTrain program director Dr. Adam Hott. “We strive to build on existing skill sets students have upon entering the program and honing those that are needed to either enter the workforce or continue their education.”

Of the 33 participants in this internship class, 10 are high school students, 22 are undergrads and one is a graduate student.  They have a combined average GPA of 3.73 and come from 15 different academic institutions.

Interns are working throughout the institute with educational outreach, and in resident associate companies and research laboratories.

Erin Propst, a sophomore at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Tex., interns at ThermoFisher Scientific, a resident associate company.

“It’s much different than school. I help in the lab with DNA purification,” Propst said. “My work here reminds me of my biology classes, but it’s way more intense.”

Not all interns work in labs. Ryan Lewis, a senior at Bob Jones High School, is working with HudsonAlpha faculty investigator Shawn Levy and the Genomic Services Lab to improve the lab’s Web site.

“When I looked at the BioTrain program, I noticed there was one internship with computers, which is more my thing than biology,” said Lewis.  “I’ve never seen a place like HudsonAlpha.  It’s really nice and I am finally getting to apply things I’ve learned in school to actual work.”

The interns aren’t the only beneficients from BioTrain.

Dr. Khursheed Anwer is the CEO of resident associate EGEN, Inc.  The company hosts three interns.

“BioTrain is mutually beneficial,” said Anwer. “The program gives us early exposure to potential talent and identifies students with interest who are gaining experience in the field. Plus, new students give a fresh perspective and are not afraid to ask questions or open up.”

Hott and the educational outreach team ensure that the BioTrain experience is a well-rounded one. Weekly group meetings focus on professional development and networking.

Even though BioTrain is only in its second year, the program has already become one of HudsonAlpha’s most notable educational outreach efforts and is gaining positive recognition across the state.

More than 370 students applied for internships in 2010, up from just over 330 in 2009.  Those interested in becoming a BioTrain intern should visit early next spring for application information.