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Internships lead to jobs through NOVA's Biotechnology Program

Program fits Obama’s call for career training

The Biotechnology Program at Northern Virginia Community College has partnered with several local companies, including ATCC, Bode Technology Group Inc. and Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), to offer internships to students. Even more important, job offers often follow the internships.

Originally from Ukraine, Oksana Murphy had trouble getting a good job with her foreign degree. After earning a biotechnology lab technician career studies certificate, this Arlington resident is working as a DNA technician at Bode Technology in Lorton. “NOVA classes were relevant to my current position. Upon completion of my class work, I was accepted for an internship and later I was offered a full-time position,” Murphy said.

Patrick Breads of Ashburn earned an associate degree in biotechnology and is working as a lab assistant at HHMI in Ashburn. “The internship helped me get hands-on experience that has already started to reward me and get me closer to my goals,” he said.

April Brisky of Gainesville is a U.S. Air Force veteran and the mother of 1-year-old twins. She is currently working toward an associate degree in biotechnology as the first step in her long-term goal to obtain a bachelor’s degree and become an embryologist. She says NOVA’s Biotechnology Program works well with her hectic schedule because of the variety of classes offered. After completing an internship, Brisky will graduate this summer. She hopes to continue her education at George Washington University. “The transition will be seamless since there is an articulation agreement between George Washington and NOVA so all of my courses will transfer,” Brisky said.

NOVA’s efforts fit President Barack Obama’s proposal for community colleges to provide more career training. In his recent State of the Union address, Obama said, “Join me in a national commitment to train 2 million Americans with skills that will lead directly to a job. … Give more community colleges the resources they need to become community career centers, places that teach people skills that businesses are looking for right now.”

The Biotechnology Program is offered at NOVA’s Loudoun and Manassas campuses. To learn more, go to http://www.nvcc.edu/manassas/biotech/ or contact Dr. Diane Mucci, biotechnology program head, at dmucci@nvcc.edu or 703-450-2510.

Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through NOVA Online. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.