Six Berkeley City College biotechnology students presented written and graphic results of their 10-month research projects to members of the scientific community at the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) annual Bridges Trainee Meeting held this July at Berkeley’s Claremont Hotel. Molly Fischer, Wanjiru Kamau-Devers, Amir Jaberi, Andres Marin, Brian Siemons and Kevin Wu were among the nine 2015-2016 BCC CIRM interns who joined more than 160 students from throughout California at the prestigious annual event. Students not only display their scientific posters during the two day event, but also participate in scientific meetings in which they hear presentations from selected scientists from across the state and receive valuable tips for job searching and career development.
Four of this past year’s interns were retained as technicians in the labs they interned and two were offered full time positions: Fischer is a staff research associate in Dr. Tejal Desai’s therapeutic microtechnology and nanotechnology lab at UC San Francisco (UCSF) and Brian Siemens is a staff research associate in Dr. Kevin Healy’s biomaterials and tissue engineering lab at UC Berkeley.
Many of the BCC CIRM interns graduated this year with associate degrees and/or certificates of completion in biotechnology. The students also receive a Certificate in Stem Cell Biology from BCC following completion of their internships and specialized training at UCSF in stem cell biology.
“We have kept records of all of our CIRM students for the past six years,” said Dr. Barbara Des Rochers, program director of BCC’s CIRM grant and cochair of BCC’s Science Department. “Many have taken technician positions in research and industrial laboratories while others have gone on for their bachelor’s, graduate and professional science degrees, including medical and pharmacy schools.”
“Our graduates are in biotechnology and science labs all over the Bay Area; many students get jobs in the labs in which they intern and many will move on to higher degrees,” noted Des Rochers. “And a number of laboratories in the Bay Area have sent their employees to BCC for continuing education.”
BCC’s biotechnology program welcomes all students—from recent high school graduates to those with college degrees—who may have been in the workplace for a long time and are seeking retraining. “We welcome older students and students with degrees,” Des Rochers said. “Some of our students have degrees in the STEM fields but many do not.”
For example, Molly Fischer came to BCC’s program with a degree in studio arts; Wanjiru Kamau-Devers with a degree in African studies and history and Kevin Wu with a degree in English and all have excelled. “People switch because something about science grabs them and sparks their curiosity and they get turned on by the possibilities,” DeRochers noted.
CIRM already has selected six more BCC 2016-17 science interns. They are Cerise Bennett, Richard Chen, Tracy Huynh, Jason Luke, Saahil Singh and Moufida Taileb. Bennett will work at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and Luke will be at UC Berkeley. Chen, Huynh, Singh and Taileb will work in labs at UC San Francisco.
For details about the stem cell internships and the biotechnology, biology and other science programs at BCC, contact Dr. Barbara Des Rochers at firstname.lastname@example.org or Dr. Siraj Omar at email@example.com
Visit the BCC Biotechnology Website for more information.