Release Date: April 4, 2014
BUFFALO, N.Y. – Biotech career opportunities in Western New York will be on the agenda April 7 when 16 University at Buffalo students visit the biotechnology company Thermo Fisher Scientific in Grand Island.
The tour is part of the one-credit UB course, MedTech 445, Biotechnology Career Preparation, which is mandatory for undergraduate majors.
Good visuals. Best time for media to attend is 1:30 p.m. For press arrangements and directions, contact Ellen Goldbaum at 716-645-4605 and 716-771-9255 on-site.
“The purpose of the tours is to introduce students to the broad range of career choices that await them when they graduate,” says Kate Rittenhouse-Olson, PhD, director of the biotechnology undergraduate program in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
“The students really enjoy seeing all the possibilities,” she says.
Thermo Fisher Scientific is a $17 billion company with 50,000 employees worldwide. Students from the UB program have been hired by the company as interns and subsequently, as full-time employees. Several are currently on staff at the company.
At Thermo Fisher’s Grand Island facility, staffers working in areas ranging from manufacturing and sales to research and development and regulatory affairs will talk to the students about career paths and opportunities in biotech.
“We try to give the students an appreciation for the multiple career paths that are available to them,” says Stephen F. Gorfien, PhD, senior director of BioProduction Research & Development at Thermo Fisher. “We talk to the students about important parts of the workflow. Not all careers in biotech involve laboratory work.”
Students will tour Thermo Fisher’s manufacturing and research and development facilities.
The event is part of a spring ritual that Kate Rittenhouse-Olson, UB professor of biotechnical and clinical laboratory sciences, has been conducting for 11 years.
Her goal is to demonstrate to students just how broad the opportunities are for undergraduates studying biotechnology in the UB Department of Clinical and Laboratory Sciences.
“The students will learn about all the options from research and development and quality control and assurance to regulatory affairs, marketing, patent development and even sales,” she says.
Each spring, the UB students visit up to nine different organizations, from Roswell Park Cancer Institute and Hauptman Woodward Medical Research Institute to local companies, like Thermo Fisher and Zeptometrix, as well as government agencies, such as the Buffalo Police Lab. Attendance on the tours is mandatory.
“These organizations are very pro-Buffalo. They’re very good mentors to help the young professionals entering the workforce and they’ve always been very supportive of our program and UB,” Rittenhouse-Olson says.
In 2013, nearly half of UB’s biotech graduates who responded to a survey were working in a related field, while the rest of the grads were attending graduate or professional school.