Sarina Barnes decided to leave the comfort of her friends, family and Fleming College community to integrate theory and practice in a BiotechnologyÂ internship. Sarina was selected to complete her program internship at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS in Vancouver, British Columbia.
The Biotechnology – Advanced program internship in Semester 5 is designed to immerse students in the operations, processes and protocols of a DNA lab. During Sarinaâ€™s internship, she was responsible for planning and optimizing an assay that was being developed to streamline a few of the tests done by the Centreâ€™s clinical team.
â€śOur BTF faculty encouraged me to pursue what I was interested in and gave me the support that I needed to pursue an internship out of province,â€ť said Sarina of the 15 week, full-time (600 hour) placement. Flemingâ€™s Biotechnology program internship may be implemented at approved private or public sites located locally, regionally, out-of-province or international locations.
â€śLiving in Vancouver was a big change, but a welcomed one. I knew that I wanted to explore what the West Coast had to offer and was willing to work hard to get there,â€ť said Sarina. â€śMoving away from family and friends to seek out a goal was really hard to do; it was through receiving their love and support that encouraged me as I transitioned to a new city and environment. These past four months on placement have allowed me to grow my skills exponentially and helped to define my interests. If I had to, I would do it all over again.â€ť
Sarina, who chose to study at Fleming College because it offers automation in the Biotechnology curriculum, said her most memorable internship experience was when faculty member Lea Roque â€“ who teaches automation – came for a site visit. â€śShe had a one-on-one with my labâ€™s director, and I got to show her around the lab and talk about what I do,â€ť said Sarina. â€śIt was a different experience explaining what I was involved in, and really gave me a chance to demonstrate what Iâ€™ve learned and apply it back to my education.â€ť
Sarina said she would happily recommend Flemingâ€™s Biotechnology program to others. â€śIt was a wonderful opportunity to gain knowledge on current topics in the field, while having lab experience to reinforce it. I cannot say enough how supportive the faculty is, inside and out of the classroom,â€ť she said.
â€śThe teaching style was very different from what I received at university. Things are much more hands-on, [move] more quickly, it really emphasized engagement with the material,â€ť said Sarina on her Fleming education. â€śI felt that I was presented with workable knowledge to apply to the real world, which is ultimately what the industry is looking for.â€ť
Now that her internship is complete, Sarina continues to apply her knowledge and skills at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. Sarina has been hired as a Research Assistant on a one year, full-time contract at the Centre.