Prior to visit, volunteer must coordinate visit with company research personnel, including
as appropriate both group leaders and laboratory based scientists. In some cases,
the volunteer may need to coordinate with corporate legal and human resources to ensure
adherence to any relevant corporate policies. The volunteer will identify participants,
establish a tour schedule, and ensure that visitors are given an informative exposure
to ongoing research projects, the technologies in routine use, and some idea of what
is expected of researchers at the sponsor’s site.
Facility tours may take a variety of forms that can range from an informational interview with an associated informal tour, to a series of shorter focused informational interviews conducted at workstations, to a somewhat more formal ‘show and tell’. A tour could also be conducted in conjunction with a half-day or day-long job shadow. Depending on the form chosen, tours could include one or more SCC student.
Students might be asked to evaluate the tour by indicating if the tour had increased their understanding of what type of work is conducted at the site, what skill sets are required of laboratory personnel, what opportunities might exist for junior associates, and what expectations are placed on the associates.
Students have many questions about biotech careers and misconceptions about the educational
paths that can lead to careers in the life science industry. Industry representatives
can be a great help by meeting with students and answering questions in short informational
How does this work?
A company decides on a contact person or department. All students contact this person (or department) to arrange the interviews. The contact person sets up the interview appointment and lets the student know where to go and possibly, where to park, if parking is a challenge.
The student arrives for the interview and meets with the company member. An interview could be with one student or a group of students.
Ideally, students will come prepared with questions, however many students don’t know what to ask.
A company representative should be prepared to answer the following kinds of questions:
1. What does the company do? What kinds of departments does it have?
2. What they do during the day? What is a typical day like?
3. Are they able to plan their schedule? Do they work 9 to 5 or is there some variation?
4. What kind of training did they need to prepare them for this job?
5. What is the hiring process like at this company?
6. What recommendations do they have for someone interested in this field?
7. What are some other kinds of positions at this company?
Informational interviews should be approximately 30 minutes.
Developing a mentor program is one way of formalizing a relationship between students of Shoreline’s Biotech Program and professionals in the local community. Mentor programs offer a structured setting in which to develop beneficial one-on-one relationships between students and professionals. Mentors have the opportunity to encourage and advise students by sharing their own experiences and knowledge. This in turn, assists students with their career development and transition into the larger work world.
Benefits of a Mentor Program
A successful mentor program provides opportunities for students to:
- Explore the world of work through interaction with professionals in the career field of their choice.
- Gain an experienced practitioner's perspective on applying textbook concepts to real-life situations and projects.
- Familiarize themselves with corporate protocol.
- Identify long-term professional development needs.
- Realize the value of networking.
- Develop a meaningful professional relationship over a specified period of time.
A mentor program benefits professionals by allowing them to:
- Contribute to the professional development of the future workforce.
- Identify potential interns and new hires for their organization.
- Assist students in beginning successful careers or succeeding with projects.
- Give something back to the field.
- Prior to interacting with students, volunteer must be available to meet with, or communicate with, the Shoreline Community College instructor to obtain an overview and goals of the project.
- Most projects will require a #___ week commitment of availability.
- Volunteer will meet with the student in person at Shoreline CC at least once to discuss the project. Other meetings or communications (email or phone) can be arranged for mutual convenience.
- Volunteer is invited to attend the student presentation of the final project, when appropriate.
- Potential Projects that could be reviewed/supervised by industry volunteers
- Presentation of primary research article. Work with a student to read, analyze and develop a presentation on a primary research article.
- Presentation on industry lab. Work with a student to research a local biotech lab or company and create a presentation on the research focus of the company as well as the company or lab structure.
- Group meeting presentations. Work with students to present lab results in class on multi-week lab projects.
- Mock interviews. Work with students to fine tune resume and cover letters before mock interviews.
Would you or the scientists at your institution like to work with students, but can’t commit to teach an entire college course? Would you like to gain teaching experience for your CV? Scientists can commit to as little as a single laboratory demonstration on a research topic or technique, a guest lecture, or an entire mini-course. Small groups of scientists are also welcome to participate together, such as for hands-on demonstrations of laboratory techniques.