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An Internship May Not Be Enough: Enhancing Bioscience Industry Job Readiness through Practicum Experiences

    Authors: Jason M. Cramer1,*, Paul T. Hamilton2
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    Affiliations: 1: The Graduate School, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695; 2: Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Received 23 September 2016 Accepted 22 December 2016 Published 21 April 2017
    • ©2017 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology.
    • [open-access] This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/ and https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/legalcode), which grants the public the nonexclusive right to copy, distribute, or display the published work.

    • Supplemental materials available at http://asmscience.org/jmbe
    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: The Graduate School, Dean’s Office, North Carolina State University, Campus Box 7102, Raleigh, NC, 27695-7102. Phone: 919-515-2737. Fax: 919-515-2873. E-mail: jmcramer@ncsu.edu.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. April 2017 vol. 18 no. 1 doi:10.1128/jmbe.v18i1.1248
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    Abstract:

    In contrast to the narrowing of options in academic careers, the bioscience industry offers robust employment opportunities for STEM-trained workers, especially those who display both scientific and business talent. Unfortunately, traditional science programs typically lack curricular features that develop this type of worker. The North Carolina State University Master of Microbial Biotechnology (MMB) program facilitates industry-specific experiential learning to fill this training gap. Similar programs often rely on a single industry internship to provide students relevant work experience, but completion of one internship might not suffice to position students for employment in a highly competitive job market. The MMB program requires students to complete an internship and three practicum projects in an industry setting, to promote development of key skills in a variety of areas, to build confidence in the ability to perform initial job duties, and to establish a more extensive work history in industry. In this Perspective we discuss an unmet need in undergraduate and graduate STEM education that can be filled by incorporating a similar set of industry-specific work experiences for students who desire to transition from academe into the life science industry.

Key Concept Ranking

Stems
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References & Citations

1. National Science Board2016Science and engineering indicators 2016National Science Foundation (NSB-2016-1)Arlington, VAhttps://www.nsf.gov/statistics/2016/nsb20161/#/report
2. National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics2016Doctorate recipients from U.S. universities: 2015Special Report NSF 17-306Arlington, VAhttps://www.nsf.gov/statistics/2017/nsf17306/
3. National Association of Colleges and Employers2016First destinations for the college class of 2015 (Executive summary)Bethlehem, PAhttp://www.naceweb.org/jobmarket/graduate-outcomes/first-destination/class-of-2015/
4. Nugent KL, Lindburg L2015Life sciences workforce trends evolve with the industryNat Biotechnol3310710910.1038/nbt.311625574640 http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nbt.3116
5. Sawyer K, Alper JChemical Sciences Roundtable, Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology, National Research Council (U.S)2014Industry perspectivesUndergraduate chemistry education: A workshop summaryNational Academies PressWashington, DCwww.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK208545/
6. Nugent KL, Kulkarni A2013An interdisciplinary shift in demand for talent within the biotech industryNat Biotechnol3185385510.1038/nbt.269424022161 http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nbt.2694
7. Theodosiou M, Rennard J-P, Amir-Aslani A2012The rise of the professional master’s degree: the answer to the postdoc/PhD bubbleNat Biotechnol3036736810.1038/nbt.218022491294 http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nbt.2180
8. Brazee C2012Innovative learning/learning innovation: Using action learning projects to develop students’ industry mindsetInt J Innov Sci415517110.1260/1757-2223.4.3.155 http://dx.doi.org/10.1260/1757-2223.4.3.155
9. Luginbuhl SC, Hamilton PT2012Preparing science-trained professionals for the biotechnology industry: a ten-year perspective on a Professional Science Master’s programJ Microbiol Biol Educ13394410.1128/jmbe.v13i1.375 http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/jmbe.v13i1.375
10. Luginbuhl SC, Hamilton PT2013Cooperative learning through team-based projects in the biotechnology industryJ Microbiol Biol Educ1422122910.1128/jmbe.v14i2.608243583863867760 http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/jmbe.v14i2.608
11. Professional Science Master’s National Office2014Evaluation report : PSM student outcomes survey 2014Keck Graduate InstituteClaremont, CAwww.professionalsciencemasters.org/sites/default/files/reports/Reports/EvaluationReport_2014_PSMOffice_KGI.pdf
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2017-04-21
2017-08-18

Abstract:

In contrast to the narrowing of options in academic careers, the bioscience industry offers robust employment opportunities for STEM-trained workers, especially those who display both scientific and business talent. Unfortunately, traditional science programs typically lack curricular features that develop this type of worker. The North Carolina State University Master of Microbial Biotechnology (MMB) program facilitates industry-specific experiential learning to fill this training gap. Similar programs often rely on a single industry internship to provide students relevant work experience, but completion of one internship might not suffice to position students for employment in a highly competitive job market. The MMB program requires students to complete an internship and three practicum projects in an industry setting, to promote development of key skills in a variety of areas, to build confidence in the ability to perform initial job duties, and to establish a more extensive work history in industry. In this Perspective we discuss an unmet need in undergraduate and graduate STEM education that can be filled by incorporating a similar set of industry-specific work experiences for students who desire to transition from academe into the life science industry.

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