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August 17, 2015

August 14 marked the culmination of the Life Sciences Summer Institute (LSSI) program for its eleventh cohort. Thirty-six students in the San Diego region were selected to receive hands-on biotechnology laboratory training and research-based work experience at world-renowned research institutes including the Salk Institute, Scripps Research Institute and UCSD Extension Research Scholars program.

LSSI students participate in a meaningful work experience that allows them to explore career pathways in the life sciences industry, apply their talents and gain valuable lab and employment skills and experience. LSSI provides work-based learning opportunities, including extensive career exploration through seminars and scientific talks and career training through a one-week, pre-training “boot camp” at Grossmont College and Miramar College. In preparation for their experience, students learn standard lab practices, safety procedures, commonly used biotechnology skills, as well as work-readiness and soft skills. Under the mentorship of a lab member, students learn the laboratory techniques and skills necessary to successfully complete their research project.

LSSI students concluded their internship with a final scientific presentation to their mentors, lab members and families. In addition, students developed scientific posters, reflecting on their summer experience and highlighting their research and future career goals. Posters will be presented in the fall at LSSI’s celebratory year-end event.

This summer, LSSI had its own intern to help with the program. Laura Roderickz, a 4th-year anthropology major at San Diego State University, was instrumental in the program’s success. Laura worked on various tasks including streamlining program processes, data collection and branding. “Working here this summer has expanded my interests in careers I had not previously considered. I leave with a stronger skill-set, better informed and with connections that will continue beyond this summer,” Roderickz says.

More than 300 students applied for three dozen available internships, demonstrating the interest and need to develop and expand work-based learning opportunities to encourage more students to pursue careers in the local life sciences industry.

If you are an employer interested in hiring a student intern during the summer or hosting a group of students during the school year, contact Erika Aranguré, Project Coordinator, at

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