In the summer of 2018, Dean Kariofillis completed an interesting internship at Sigmapharm Laboratories in Bensalem, PA. In order to obtain this opportunity, Dean had to go through an interview. He found this internship from his father’s friend who helped him with the application process. A typical day for the senior in the analytical chemistry lab began by reading standard operating procedures on the techniques or equipment that he used. Then, Dean assisted the analytical chemists, mastered laboratory techniques, and conducted experiments to test new methods for new pharmaceuticals. Some of the experiments included force degradations, preparing mobile phases and buffers, operating dissolution apparatus, calibrating and running HPLC machines, etc. The senior’s favorite aspect of the internship were the employees since they were all very friendly and happy to assist him or answer any questions he had. However, the most challenging part was learning how dissolution apparatus work and understanding their purpose in the creation of new drugs.
Dean utilized the skills he acquired from his chemistry and biology labs at Ursinus and adapted them to what was expected of him in the lab at Sigmapharm. These skills include using a PH meter and pipette, making quick calculations and measurements, and proper lab etiquette. The senior also utilized teamwork skills since the majority of the experiments were conducted in groups. Dean believes interning at Sigmapharm Laboratories provided him with new skills which would be necessary for a career as a Chemist in the pharmaceutical industry. He feels as though these skills will help him in his future career.
Who I Met that Made a Difference
“My advisor at Sigmapharm has made a difference for me during my experience. This internship provided an opportunity for me to network within this company and my advisor and I formed a close relationship. He has even offered to write me a letter of recommendation if needed. Since the internship, we have remained in contact via email.”
The senior feels this opportunity opened up a new possible career path for him in the pharmaceutical field and he did not see himself working in this field prior to the internship. Dean thinks he changed personally after this experience because it opened his eyes to another field which he knew little about. He learned a lot and broadened his overall knowledge about the different aspects of the industry from analytical labs to research and development and even marketing! “I am very grateful for the connections that I have made with employees in the workplace and other interns. Through this internship I was able to make new lasting friendships with the other interns as well” explains Dean. After he graduates from Ursinus, the senior is planning on doing a Physician’s Assistant graduate school program or working in the pharmaceutical industry.
The Coolest Part of the Experience
The coolest part of the experience was having the opportunity to learn about the methods needed to produce new drugs from techniques in the lab to transportation of the drugs. When given a tour of the facilities, the senior saw containers that simulated different environments and he observed how these climates affected the drugs over a period of time.
Dean advises to look for existing connections within the field that you are pursuing and to apply for internships at those locations. “Connections are a very valuable resource and should be utilized when looking for an internship” adds the senior. Lastly, Dean would recommend this internship to Biology and Chemistry majors.
Written by Faraha Rathod, UC ’19