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Intern of the Week: Shannon Cole for Biology!

Check out her internship with the U.S. Food & Drug Admin.

November 29, 2018 10:39 AM

Name:Shannon Cole

Internship, Co-op or Research Site: U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Position Title: ORISE Intern


Work Term:Summer 2018

Tell us about your internship, co-op, or research opportunity, including your day-to-day responsibilities.

My internship at the FDA included a combination of data mining and laboratory methods research to monitor post-market drug quality. On a day-to-day basis, I conducted assays such as Reverse Phase Ultra High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (RP-UHPLC) and Microcapillary Electrophoresis sodium dodecyl sulfate (µCE-SDS) while working in the lab. These assays allowed me to obtain the protein characterization profile of the drug antibodies. In the same day, I usually transitioned over to attending planning meetings for current projects, and shifted again to data mining and searching for post-market drugs in the database. I worked on a collaboration between the FDA’s Office of Surveillance (OS) and Office of Biotechnology Products (OBP) to develop rapid techniques for characterizing monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) that are used in therapeutic drug products. By obtaining characterization profiles of mAbs, OS is better able to regulate manufacturing firms to maintain product quality to ensure the safety of consumers.

Describe the process of obtaining your position. When did you hear of the position and submit your application?

I heard of the position in the early Spring semester. I found a listing on UMBCworks and sent in my resume only. I was contacted by my mentor in March and she set up an interview. She asked me to fill out an official application through zintellect. I filled out the application the same day and had an interview with her a few weeks later. She notified me the next week that I had gotten the internship. In a previous semester, I utilized the Career Center’s resume reviewing help to improve the content and appearance of my resume. I think this clearly had an impact on my marketability to recruiters!

What have you enjoyed the most about your position or organization?

I have greatly enjoyed working at the FDA this summer because I am constantly learning new things and developing new skills. There is always something that needs to be done and the ORISE internship program is very rigorous. I have appreciated the high standards I am held to because I know my mentor is teaching me the skills that will make me successful in a career later down the road. The FDA is a very interdisciplinary and multifaceted organization and I am constantly impressed by the multitude of people, jobs, and projects at the agency. Coming from a Biology background, I have been able to develop new skills that are directly and indirectly related to my major, such as laboratory techniques and data mining. By training me in a variety of settings, fields, and skill sets, the FDA internship program has made me into a more well-rounded professional for both an academic setting, and for when I enter the workforce.

How do you believe you have made an impact through your work?

I believe I have made an impact through my work because the laboratory techniques I have studied and the database work I have done contribute to improving the FDA’s regulatory influence when monitoring post-market drug quality. In this way, my work benefits the public by assessing drug quality to ensure patient safety and promote public health.

What advice would you give to another student who is seeking an internship or similar experience?

Always go to the interview. Even if you are unsure if the job is right for you, always interview. At first, I was skeptical the position fit my interests for a summer internship, but the interview allowed me to find out more about the organization, job duties, and staff. After seeing the campus and meeting the people in person, it was much easier for me to see myself working there. By the end of my time at the FDA, I found I had learned so much and gained so many valuable experiences. My internship experience has greatly influenced my future career goals and taught me skills that I would not have learned in a classroom.

Shannon has since accepted a full-time offer to continue working with the FDA after she graduates in December.

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