In our survey of current and former trainees, many ranked the industrial internships as a key component of the training grant program. Many report that it prepared them for positions in industry and some credit the experience with the networking opportunities that helped them find career placement after graduation.
Our trainees have ample opportunities to interact with industrial contacts. Members of our training faculty have strong research collaborations throughout the public and private sector. About 30% of BTI seminars (which are attended by our trainees) feature industry speakers. Several trainees participate in the Annual Meeting of the Minnesota Biotechnology Association where they present posters. The University also hosts biotechnology workshops and short courses, which trainees are encouraged to attend. The relevance of our training to industry and the quality of our trainees, however, is best illustrated by the high demand for our graduates from industry.
I was able to do an internship with BASF in Ludwigshafen, Germany for three months. There were so many experiences from this internship that have made me a better scientist. I learned first hand what science looks like at a large European firm. It also allowed me to experience working with a lab group with completely different educations and backgrounds.
My most significant experiences connected with the NIH training grant was the internship I did at Cargill. Working at a large biotech corporation was informative. In addition to learning new skills like growing and doing genetics research on yeast, I also made important professional connections. After this experience, I am further convinced that a future in the industrial biotech industry is for me.
The industrial internship was a turning point for me in graduate school. It changed my perspective on my career path--I now know that I want to work in industry. I have the NIH Training Grant to thank for that.