HudsonAlpha BioTrain internship program celebrates tenth anniversary

HudsonAlpha’s collegiate internship program, BioTrain, is celebrating its ten-year anniversary in conjunction with the anniversary of the Institute. In 2009, the first BioTrain cohort spent the summer working within labs with scientists and entrepreneurs to gain real-world job experience.

Neil Lamb, PhD, and members of HudsonAlpha’s Educational Outreach team developed the idea for BioTrain in 2008 as an experiential learning opportunity that would inspire and train future scientists.

“We chose the name “BioTrain” as it captures the literal and figurative meaning of the program’s mission,” said Adam Hott, EdD, developer and former program director.  More than just a literal training program for students, the imagery around the word “train” is reminiscent of a locomotive bringing students on a journey and forging the future of the biotech industry.

“Our hope was that meeting the goals of the program would turn out the next generation of biotech experts that will lead discoveries and create applications we cannot even imagine yet,” Hott said.

Over the past ten years, the BioTrain program has evolved to offer additional positions for interns from departments at the Institute. Students now may hold internships in computer science, marketing and communications, digital design, education, economic development, as well as research-based laboratory work.

“This is an exciting opportunity for students because they gain job experience in both the research and business side of biotechnology,” said Michele Morris, program director for BioTrain. “Additionally, they attend weekly professional development sessions and learn soft skills that are essential in the workplace.”

HudsonAlpha hosts 25 to 30 interns each year; over the past decade, 283 interns have participated in the competitive program.  BioTrain is intentional about its support of students within the state of Alabama; all students accepted either attend a college in Alabama or are residents of the state.

“I feel like the program is serving a real purpose and gives a deep and valuable experience to the students in the state of Alabama,” Morris said. “This summer we have interns from 15 different universities. The state of Alabama is rich in talent and the BioTrain program is a great pathway for these students to progress in their chosen fields.”

As BioTrain forges ahead with its 10th cohort, interested individuals will be able to view the work of current BioTrain interns at the public poster session to be held in the atrium of HudsonAlpha on July 27 at 11 am.