Nanoparticles are one-twentieth the thickness of human hair and invisible to the human eye. Things this small don’t follow the same laws of physics that larger objects do. These curious characteristics are what make nanotechnology an important part of the future of science and technology, with the possibilities that seem to be limited only by the creativity of researchers. Nanocopoeia, a dynamic St. Paul company and participant in the SciTechsperience Internship Program, has no shortage of inventiveness when it comes to nanotechnology and building its team.

Nanocopoeia is a drug delivery company that is developing a nanotechnology-enabled portfolio of therapeutic products. Their process involves a proprietary ElectroNanospray™ technology to introduce new functionality, improve function and/or impair function in pharmaceutical products. The company’s operation started in 2004 and over the years has grown to 20 fulltime employees, two of whom joined the team after completing internships through SciTechsperience.

SciTechsperience is a free, statewide, state-funded program created to build and retain Minnesota’s STEM workforce. Karen Arnold, the Co-founder and CEO of Nanocopoeia, says, “[SciTechsperience] is really important to a little company like ours,” adding, “it’s made the difference for us. Over the years we’ve become a ‘power-user’ of the program.”

Lauren Merriman (right), a junior majoring in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Minnesota, is Nanocopoeia’s current intern. In her role as a pharmaceutical R&D intern, Lauren provides technical support to Nanocopoeia’s product portfolio development by prepping solutions in the lab and performing testing through chromatography. The small pharmaceutical company has given Lauren a valuable educational opportunity outside of the classroom by providing experience with very expensive lab equipment that is not available in school. “Every day there’s a different thing to learn,” says Lauren.

Doua Thao (left), who majored in Biochemistry at Saint Cloud State University, was an intern at Nanocopoeia in 2013 through SciTechsperience and is now a full-time employee. “I pretty much got hands-on on all the [equipment],” says Doua, talking about interning at Nanocopoeia. Doua has become the spray-expert at Nanocopoeia and is an extremely valuable member of the team.

The benefits of the SciTechsperience program are immense for small science, technology, engineering and manufacturing companies. The 50% wage match is worth up to $2,500, and can be an essential aspect of getting the help needed to propel a company forward. From start to finish, the program is designed with simplicity in mind.

SciTechsperience has just over 170 wage matches remaining for 2017, and with over 1,000 prescreened students eager to find hands-on experience it’s definitely not too late to enroll and post an internship at SciTechMN.org. If you have any questions about SciTechsperience please contact Becky Siekmeier at beckys@mhta.org or Jonah Kaplan at jkaplan@mhta.org or call 952-230-4241.

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