Improving the Biotechnology Internship Experience to Better Prepare Student Technicians for the Modern Workforce

This project aims to serve the national need for a highly skilled technical workforce by improving biotechnology student education. The biotechnology industry in Florida is expanding, with growth that is more than twice the national average. The College intends to expand its biotechnology program to meet this growing need. Specifically, the project plans to improve biotechnology education by updating and revitalizing the current biotechnology internship experience. Internships offer students critical learning and workforce experiences, helping them to develop essential employability skills. This project plans to improve students? learning through internships by increasing the number of internship opportunities, improving the biotechnology curriculum to better align with the needs of industry partners, enhancing the internship experience with an online interactive resource, and developing a biotechnology network to match students with future employers. This combination of cultivating industry partners, integrating technical skills and essential workplace skills, and community building is expected to increase the impact of biotechnology internships, including helping student successfully transition into a biotechnology career.

This project is designed to provide biotechnology employers with highly educated and skilled technicians, thus enabling newly hired technicians to be rapidly productive on the job. The objectives of the project are to: 1) expand biotechnology internship opportunities for students by expanding the number of current internship partners; 2) amplify biotechnology essential skills training for students by developing an internship curriculum that includes essential workforce skills; 3) enhance the student experience by developing online modules to deliver internship information and develop student skills; 4) expand the biotechnology community by creating and hosting a one-day symposium that convenes high school students, biotechnology undergraduates, and industry partners. Additional goals are to increase diversity in the biotechnology industry through outreach and partnership with the local area high schools that have diverse student populations. Resources developed by the project will be shared through the NSF ATE network. This project is funded by the Advanced Technological Education program that focuses on the education of technicians for the advanced-technology fields that drive the nation's economy.

Project PI: 
Susan Ingersoll PhD
Host Organization: Valencia College
Other Collaborators: 
  • Anitza San Miguel EdD (Co-Principal Investigator, Valencia Community College)
  • Dheeraj Verma PhD (Co-Principal Investigator, Valencia Community College)
Grant number: DUE 2000242
Project Contact Info: 
Valencia Community College Orlando FL