1. Tell us about your summer internship. What was your title, and what did your day-to-day responsibilities look like?
This past summer I worked at Arm & Hammer Animal Nutrition as a Research Intern on the Probiotics Research & Development Team. I worked to take samples of environmental spore-forming bacteria which were added to the company's library of probiotics. We then analyzed our library of samples to identify potential candidates that would act to lower pathogen levels when added to animal feeds, which could be developed into commercial products to be sold by the company. I also worked with other teams at the company to analyze samples from clients that were using our products on their farms. This was so we could monitor the effectiveness of our product at lowering pathogen levels in the intestinal tracts of the animals.
2. What did you like about doing science in an industry setting?
I liked the aspect of working with customers. It was easier to see the direct impact of my research because I was interacting with the people using our companies’ products. Sometimes in academic research it hard to see how your research will fit into the real world, but working at this company gave me the opportunity to see exactly how what I was doing was useful. I also had the opportunity to sit in on some of the team meetings, so I was able to see firsthand how a company is managed, and how decisions on product development and project ideas in the industry are made.
3. What did you learn from this internship experience?
This summer I learned that there is a big difference between industry research and academic research, and that I work better in the industry setting. I prefer the way that research is driven in industry, it seems much more directed and that it has more of an immediate impact.
Another lesson I learned is that it’s okay to feel unprepared when starting a new job with little lab experience. My mentor and other project managers in the company were extremely understanding of all the interns making mistakes, and never got mad at us for it. They encouraged us to learn from our mistakes and to never stop asking questions in the lab, because they wanted the internship to be a valuable learning opportunity. They didn’t expect us to be experts at the start, they recognized that we were students who are still learning and they were willing to teach us.
I also learned how useful everything I’ve learned in college so far is. I really got to see firsthand how what I had learned in my labs and classes transfers over to the real world.
Think Lindsey had a cool experience and want to learn more about industry science? Consider participating in some of our upcoming programming to learn more!