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Life Sciences program wraps up with presentations, celebration and food trucks

The Life Sciences Summer Institute (LSSI) is a training and internship program that prepares talented high school and college students for careers in San Diego’s Life Sciences and Health Care fields. Over the course of the summer, students complete a one-week boot camp where they receive training in fundamental lab skills, safety practices and soft skills before completing a paid internship working alongside professional scientists in one of San Diego’s world-renowned Life Sciences companies. The San Diego Workforce Partnership created LSSI in 2005 in collaboration with Biocom and the Southern California Biotechnology Center at Miramar College, and since its inception, the program has served 558 students, offering 45 internships this year.

On October 24, SDWP and LaunchBio hosted the annual LSSI Graduation and Food Truck Party in UTC. Students presented their research, which spanned topics from the role of orphan receptors in alcohol addiction to modeling pancreatic cancer with organoid co-culture, while attendees enjoyed music, food and a Halloween-themed “witches brew.” The event was highlighted by prominent speakers—Councilmember Barbara Bry, BioLabs CEO Susie Harborth and SDWP CEO Peter Callstrom—though it was a panel of four students from this summer’s LSSI cohort who stole the show. They discussed the importance of LSSI in helping them develop lab skills and build a professional network that will propel them toward a career in life sciences.

SDWP has already begun recruiting employers to host talented interns next summer. If you work in the biotechnology industry, LSSI can subsidize the wages, insurances and liabilities involved with hiring these bright and motivated students. If you are unable to hire an intern, you can also support the program by hosting a tour of your company or providing funds to sponsor a student internship. Student applications for the 2018 cohort will open in late January and close at the end of March.

Thank you to the San Diego Foundation and the Nordson Corporation Foundation for sponsoring this year’s LSSI program as well as LSSI’s implementing partners: the Salk Institute, the Scripps Research Institute, Miramar College and the Southern California Biotechnology Center, Grossmont College, BioLabs, LaunchBio and UCSD Extension’s Research Scholars Program. Finally, thanks to the employer partners who hosted interns this summer—without them, this program would not be possible.

Please contact Alex Becker at alexanderb@workforce.org to learn how to get involved.

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