Interns: Job Versatility

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“If you find yourself in a place where there is nothing left to learn, then it is time to leave,” said Jeremiah Mitzelfelt when questioned about his decision to pursue technology analysis after receiving a Ph.D. in Medical Science. He wanted a change of pace from scientific research, but was unsure about other career opportunities where he could use his skills. That’s when he found the internship with the Emory Office of Technology Transfer and began to delve into the world of technology analysis and commercialization.

Most Emory OTT interns have a background in chemistry or life science, which often leads to research focused careers spent in labs wearing white coats at the lab bench. However, many former interns learned that research and development extends far beyond the lab and involves writing, creativity, and negotiations. Dr. Paul Musille says his OTT internship taught him to digest, understand, and write about technologies–far from his graduate thesis research in lipid regulated transcription. The versatility in technology was Musille’s favorite part of the internship because it allowed him to work on many different types of projects.Intern Group Photograph 2015

Emory’s OTT certainly generates useful skills, but many of these are difficult to quantify. Dr. Sommer Zimmerman remembers the process of invention disclosures where, “the inventor explains his or her invention and where they see the utility of their invention. In writing technology briefs (marketing collateral), your job as an intern is to take this discussion one step further and ask, ‘what else could this technology could be used for?’ Not only do you want to cover the uses foreseen by the inventor, but also those that may be less apparent.” The process of evaluating a technology requires creativity in thinking and looking at an innovation from varied perspectives.

Although balancing the internship with graduate school is challenging, Dr. Mitzefelt recounts, “I just wish I had started looking for something other than research sooner. There are so many different careers you can pursue outside of the lab, but they all take work to transition into. The sooner you start working toward them, the sooner you can leave the lab.” Mitzefelt’s internship with Emory OTT helped him transition to his new career path. Similarly, Musille’s internship with Emory OTT helped him prove to future potential employers that he could be successful in a career dealing with broad range of topics.

Learn more about the intern program on our website.