This summer, 38 undergraduate and graduate students experienced Vertex and the biotechnology industry through our twelve-week, summer internship program. We began offering internships in 2007, and our unique program has quickly grown into a robust avenue for preparing students in Bachelor’s, Masters, MBA and Ph.D. programs for the workforce.
Each of our interns is hired to complete specific projects in one of many departments, including accounting, clinical planning, supply chain management, clinical safety and quality, biometrics, environmental health and safety, human resources, government affairs and formulation development. They have the opportunity to engage in challenging and rewarding projects, including the construction of a drug network to predict similarities between drug effects and mechanism of actions and the creation of clinical trial simulations with adaptive study designs. Click here to learn more about the Vertex internship program.
Our interns are also given the freedom to go above and beyond their initial project. This summer for instance, Zheng F., a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Florida interning with our Modeling and Simulations group, was assigned the task of building a statistical platform to classify biological samples based on their "molecular signatures." Because of the complexity and highly dimensional nature of this platform, Zheng utilized our High Performance Computing (HPC) cluster. While working on the project, he noticed that other Vertex computational scientists were interested in learning more about the parallel computing capabilities of the HPC cluster. Zheng took the initiative to design and implement a short training course for 15 of his coworkers.
To further enrich their work experience, our summer interns attend a weekly “lunch and learn” series with topics ranging from ethics training to an overview of the clinical development process. We also provide opportunities for them to meet managers and mentors in fun and informal settings to build cross-functional professional relationships. Aaron F., who has interned in our Medical Alliances group for the last two summers, had the chance to meet with members of several different departments to learn more about his future career options. He said, “I had the chance to talk with a member of the health economics team this summer, and it was the first time I’d heard of the field. I’m a second year MBA student, and I’ve had previous internships in bench science and in hospital administration, so learning about a profession that combines my experience and interests was really exciting.”
As the summer drew to a close, each intern was given the opportunity to showcase their achievements at a company-wide poster session. Employees from across the organization are encouraged to attend and ask questions about the various projects. For Ayesha A., a summer marketing intern, being able to highlight her achievements was one of many aspects of the Vertex culture that she enjoyed. “I learned more than I could have imagined, but one thing that stood out about the internship program here is that I wasn’t treated like an intern – I was a part of the team. Working in a place where you are encouraged to voice your opinions and work collaboratively inspires you to work that much harder and take ownership of your work. And then, to have the chance to be recognized and praised for my contributions to the team was pretty incredible.”