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Teknova targets local students as internship program expands

Biotech company aims to hire five to 10 interns each summer.

Teknova is tapping into the local community to fill internship positions in various departments and help the 105-employee biotechnology company grow.

The program, now in its second year, targets local candidates, including San Benito High School students with an interest in science.

In 2017, three of the seven interns were from SBHS, and there were four Baler interns working with Teknova this year.

Human resources manager Ashley Holtz said the internship program provides a great opportunity for students to get prepared for any career path. There are numerous science-based positions, as well as opportunities in information technology, administration and programming.

Human resources associate Marleen Alvarez said the company received almost 200 internship applications this year. One-third of them are local candidates, who are given preference.

Teknova aims to hire five to 10 interns each summer.

The interns’ responsibilities vary within department, but typically they include scanning documents, conducting research and organizing information. Some positions involve learning computer skills and programing languages like Java and Sequel.

High school interns start at minimum wage, while college students are paid an additional dollar an hour for every year of college completed. Intern wages can also vary within positions that require additional skills or work.

It’s not uncommon for interns to stay with Teknova past their internship period and work part-time, Holtz said. Last year, three interns stayed with the company after their internships ended.

One of those students was Stevi Page, who started as an intern before her senior year of high school. Page said she stayed at Teknova part-time during her senior year because the company supported her professional development and the staff was accommodating to her school schedule. Working with Chief Financial Officer Richard Goozh was “a final solidifying point,” in her decision to pursue a business economics degree at UCLA starting this fall.

Mary Medeiros is another former intern who stayed with Teknova. She began her internship a year after graduating from UC Santa Cruz with a degree in molecular, cell and developmental biology. Her internship included shadowing lab workers in different work areas, which allowed her to decide which department she wanted to work in. Now as a tech services associate, Medeiros is immersed in all parts of production and said she enjoys her close-knit coworkers.

Chief Operations Officer Irene Davis said over the years that there have been several interns who wanted to pursue a science degree. They were mentored and worked on projects with chief scientists, which helped them choose which area to pursue.

Before Teknova began its formal internship program in 2017, it was still hiring interns, Davis said. Rudy Salcedo started with the company as an intern 12 years ago and has since moved up to a position in quality assurance.

In his current role, Salcedo said he verifies that documents and forms comply with current standards and other regulations. He also reviews documents for accuracy prior to and after production.

Salcedo said he never looked to move up the ladder. Instead, he was presented with opportunities when other positions were made available. He has held positions as a packaging technician, customer service representative, technical service representative and documentation representative.

“You learn a lot,” Salcedo said. “I learned a lot considering the various aspects I’ve worked in.”

 

 

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About:
Noe Magaña (Noe Magaña)

Noe Magaña is a freelance writer for BenitoLink. He also experiments with videography and photography. A San Benito High School graduate with a bachelor's in journalism from San Jose State and a Liberal Arts Associate's Degree from Gavilan College. Noe also attended San Jose City College and was the managing editor for the City College Times, the school's newspaper. He also was a reporter and later a copy editor for San Jose State's Spartan Daily.

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