Graduates from the Citrus College Biotechnology Program have applied their biotech skills and knowledge for diverse opportunities from industry employment to research positions at academic institutions. Below you can meet a few of our successful graduates, and learn how the biotech program helped them move forward with their career.
Karla R. Kizuka
Rose Hills Fellow and Lab Technician (Part-time)
Oak Crest Institute of Science
I am currently working at Oak Crest Institute of Science, a non-profit research institute dedicated to environmental and biomedical research. My research is in the field of Microbiology. I specifically work with bacteria and virus. My job involves doing different experiments in order to understand what role these microorganisms play in the environment, and in the human body. This requires a lot of planning for which I am responsible. In order to have a successful experiment it is critical that I spend time reading articles, designing protocols and doing very fun math. While in the wet lab some of my task include: growing bacteria, tissue culturing, making media, working with different instruments and machines like BSC (Bio Safety Cabinet), centrifuge, pH meter, autoclave, spectrophotometer, etc.
The Oak Crest Institute of Science faculty members are really great mentors and provide great support to students. They provide one-on-one training, but they also give you the opportunity to be independent and carry out your own experiments. I believe that this is very important when deciding if research is for you. There is more than one lab at the institute, which means there are many mentors who are all experts at something different. This gives you the opportunity to explore different fields like chemistry, molecular biology, microscopy, etc. These internships are great for students that want to obtain experience but also continue their education.
The biotech program is amazing. The training that you obtain is something that you can really carry on with you to different job sites. Everything that I learned in the program I have used at my job. The program is very hands-on and different from other courses, and is full of opportunities. There are plenty of biotech companies lined up and ready to hire students who have taken the biotech program. Having Dr. Juncosa as a mentor is a huge privilege she goes out of her way to help you learn, and ensures that you move forward with your career regardless of your educational goal.
Summer Intern/Contractor, Quality Assurance
San Dimas, CA
My position at Gilead was designed for college students that wanted a feel of what it would be like to work in the Industry. The good thing about this was that I got to experience what a typical day would be like in many departments, however, since it was just a summer internship I was only able to be at the company during the summer, but I made friends and connections that can help guide me in my career development. My main focus while I was at Gilead Sciences was helping the Quality Assurance department. For the most part I helped the QA Training department. I would check forms for good documentation practices that other employees has turned in for their training and enter it into the system. If any problems arose in their forms I would contact them and this way I got to meet a lot of people from different departments. I also helped other departments create PowerPoints and Excel spreadsheets to reconcile information that they needed or to present topics to their peers. I was also lucky enough to be able to take part in Quality Risk Management meetings where we discussed possible risks in the processing of Gilead pharmaceuticals. I was able to gain insight on the process as well as give input and visit the manufacturing area.
The biotech program at Citrus College really prepared me for this position. Among other things, it taught me proper GMP and GDP, aseptic technique, and basic background on biopharmaceutical companies. However, the classes focused on a lab aspect for the most part and in the QA department I was more involved in processing documents and not the product itself, but the program definitely helped with the background I needed. Also the program was able to introduce me to this field that I didn't really know existed. I loved it so much that I am narrowing my education goals and career to working in the biopharmaceutical field. This program showed me exactly what I wanted to do and helped me network with companies I would have not been able to meet with on my own. The most important thing would be to put yourself out there, keep in touch with the people you meet, and always give your best first impression.
Citrus College Summer Research Experience
City of Hope
I joined the biotech program because I knew it would expose me to some of the lab techniques and machinery I am to use in my career as a biomedical engineer. I was surprised to find out how in depth the class was. Not only were my initial expectations met, but workshops on how to interview and present myself professionally have allowed me to understand how to acquire work effectively. I am sure that the work Dr. Juncosa did was directly responsible for landing me a position at City of Hope as a research intern. And I use the skills I learned in the biotech program on an everyday basis. Because of my training I was able to complete two projects and am currently working on my third. I am able to assist my mentor effectively and was able to navigate the lab early into my internship. I am grateful to Dr. Juncosa for the work she did in developing my professional skills as well as life skills I can apply on a daily basis. I can assuredly say that I am a more confident and prepared individual because of the biotech class.
Laboratory Technician (Full-time)
Eurofins Eaton Analytical
As a laboratory technician, my job entails working with a team to perform many different tests. Our goal is to identify the presence and quantity of bacteria in various water sources. I am also responsible for preparing many different types of media, performing quality control checks on these media and maintaining an ISO classified lab. What I enjoy the most is the positive impact I get to make in our environment through the work we do in our lab. The biotech program has prepared me very well with the necessary skills for an entry-level position within the industry. I entered my field feeling confident and knowledgeable, and I was prepared with many tools to be successful. This program has been a wonderful opportunity, which has helped me start my career within the biotechnology industry.