InnovaBio is a research and development program at Salt Lake Community College which teaches students how a lab works by working on assignments that have come from outside sources.
According to Vivian Ngan-Winward, director of the biomanufacturing program at SLCC, the research and development training has been so successful that SLCC is starting a new program called STUDENTfacturED. In this program, students will get hands-on, real world experience in both manufacturing biotechnology reagents and in running a business.
“Internships are hard to come by in Biotech because of FDA [Food and Drug Administration] regulations,” said Ngan-Winward. Those internships may be disconnected from the student’s actual goal where the intern does things that are only tangentially related, such as filing.
The Biomanufacturing Program and the School of Business have teamed up to bring students this learning opportunity.
“We will be manufacturing instructional supplies that we will sell back to ourselves,” said Ngan-Winward.
Students will also get a better understanding of FDA regulations because the manufacturing environment will be following good manufacturing practices as required by the FDA.
“Our manufacturing students really need to see that in place,” said Ngan-Winward.
The School of Business is providing the accounting, marketing, legal and business management side of the operations, but students will cross-train between disciplines so that “they can get a bigger picture and better understanding,” said Ngan-Winward.
Marketing for the supplies will also include other colleges and high schools. Part of the goal, beyond the learning aspects, is to keep the costs of the items produced low while still making enough money to continue the program when the grant funds run out.
Students from the School of Business will be creating a business plan and a master budget.
“The value of this whole company is to watch students grow and prosper,” said Bob Burdette, associate professor of accounting.
The products created may include petri plates, solutions and buffers. The raw materials will be put into a kit for sale to science programs. Business market research students have already researched what high school teachers and college professors want for their classes.
Students interested in applying for an internship with STUDENTfacturED can do so on their web site. Those who are accepted into the program will work with mentors during their internships.
The National Science Foundation has given SLCC a three-year grant for $900,000 for STUDENTfacturED.