“We try to always have at least one student in the lab,” said Bethany Muinch, Director of Human Resources at Tapemark. “The ability to simultaneously work here while also working in the lab at school allows them to jump ahead, understand the process and be more hands-on with it. For us, it’s always great to have fresh eyes from someone coming in from school. It’s really helpful, gives us more variety and it gives us the opportunity to reevaluate the best training for someone who is greener.”
Tapemark is a biotech company and a leading expert in bringing clients’ transdermal, thin film, and unit dose topical drug delivery systems to market. Hosting internships means exposing students to this unique area of industry through Tapemark’s specialized process.
“One of the things we do is try to help students get a real-world application,” Muinch added. “I remember being a student; you don’t really know what you don’t know. And getting in and seeing what you’re studying in real life, it helps give them a better idea of what they might want to do in the future.”
The importance of asking questions
This spring, that opportunity was extended to Assad Muktar, a Chemistry Major at Metropolitan State University. As an analytical lab technician intern, Muktar’s time at Tapemark began with an introduction to the lab and its equipment followed by some training on their documentation process. Once familiar with the procedure, Muktar was then responsible for preparing standards and prepping solutions, all of which helped him improve his pipetting and balance calibration abilities.
“The thing I’m most looking forward to is learning why specific things are done and how they’re done,” Muktar said. “Like why we choose certain standards and why they go through certain processes, how you validate the methods and everything. So I’m looking forward to more of the theory part of things and then advancing to the lab work.”
Muktar’s inquisitiveness served him well during his internship, not only helping him to learn more, but earning him the admiration of his teammates.
“Assad asks very good questions about why we’re doing this or what is going on here. So he really wants to know the process, which is really great,” said Bryan Kiefat, a Lab Services Manager at Tapemark. “He’s very bright and I think the sky’s the limit for him.”
How to stand out
During the interview process, Muinch recalled how Muktar stood out by demonstrating his drive and eagerness to learn new things. His resume highlighted his additional research experience, three years working as a tutor, and the fact that he’s currently an active semi-professional soccer player for Fc Minneapolis. These details, Muinch said, proved his dedicated work ethic and good time management, all things valued by her team.
In exchange for his hard work and help in the lab, Tapemark gave back with the experience and growth they set out to help their interns achieve.
“When I got done with my lab training and started advancing into the standard and solution preps, I was pretty proud of that. Everything’s gone well so far and I’ve learned a lot,” Muktar said. “I’m really thankful that I had a chance to see what’s happening in the lab and how things are done.”