Article contributed by Dr. Shelly Thai, Glendale Community College, CA, and Andreh Fiterz, PerkinElmer, Photo credit: Ken Allard/El Vaquero News
From Dr. Thai:
I'm a Biology faculty at Glendale Community College in California.
A few years ago, I developed a research course, Biology 298 - Undergraduate Research in Microbiology and Molecular Biology, to give undergraduates at our community college authentic, an opportunity to do hands-on research experience and also practice the associated critical thinking, analytical, and technical skills.
Many of our students transfer to the university and have been able to obtain either student research positions or lab technician/assistant positions. More recently, some of the students have been able to obtain jobs and internships in the biotech companies.
Interestingly, I learned that one of my former students, Andreh Fiterz, was offered a job at Perkin Elmer as an RNA extraction technician to process test samples for COVID-19.
Andreh was a stellar student at Glendale Community College. His research presentation at the Southern California ASM meeting earned him an undergraduate research award and a trip to ASM. He recently graduated from UC Berkeley and will now start his employment at Perkin Elmer as a technician.
We are in the process of developing a Biotech program at Glendale Community College and are positive that the program, in combination with the research experience, will have a positive impact on the students' future.