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Transformative Journeys: ISPE Foundation Diversity Internship Program

ISPE Foundation
Transformative Journeys: ISPE Foundation Diversity Internship Program

Through the ISPE Foundation Diversity Internship Program, junior undergraduate and graduate-level students are afforded an opportunity to immerse themselves in a summer of groundbreaking engineering projects at some of the most cutting-edge facilities. This experience not only fosters the development of invaluable technical skills, but also serves as a first chance for students to establish a professional network and acquire the essential soft skills necessary for success. Over time, these skills and opportunities can truly be life-changing, not only for the students themselves but also for the future beneficiaries of their impact on the pharmaceutical industry.


Claire Loos, a Biomedical Engineering student at The Ohio State University, looked ahead to her junior year in 2022, beginning her search for internships that aligned with her chosen field. Internships play a vital role in guiding the career paths of many college students, allowing them to either reaffirm their decision to continue their studies or leading them to explore alternative avenues that better resonate with their interests and talents. Claire’s vision was clear: “to help individuals gain proper access to healthcare, especially in less developed areas.” She aimed to transform her academic knowledge into professional skills with a global impact in mind.

Ultimately, Claire discovered the ISPE Foundation Diversity Internship Program and applied for her first internship. After successfully completing the application process, she landed an internship with Nephron Pharmaceuticals as an Engineering Intern in Columbia, South Carolina, USA, through the program. There, Claire played a role in writing and conducting process and product development studies, aimed at qualifying and developing parameters for machinery used in production.

Reflecting on her experience, Claire expressed, “I learned, developed, and refined my skills. At the end of the summer, I was able to author and spearhead my own process development study. I took a problem that needed to be studied, wrote a protocol, and got it approved cross-divisionally, so as a really young professional and engineer having that big of a project, I learned so much.”

Claire also developed knowledge and skills beyond manufacturing techniques and regulatory standards. “That was my first time in a professional environment. I learned so many soft skills, such as how people communicate. It’s not like a classroom or organizational setting in college, it’s completely different.”

Throughout her internship, Claire had a supportive company supervisor and mentor who encouraged her to learn as much as she could about the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry, providing her with the opportunity to make meaningful contributions to the company and to her future. Reflecting on their impact, Claire shared:

They were invested in teaching me and letting me learn what an engineer really does so that I can excel in the field. From the internship I was able to determine, ‘Yes, I want to be an engineer.’ Going into this program, I thought, ‘Okay, I’m going to try this out. It’s just one summer, if I don’t like engineering, I can change.’ Then I realized I loved engineering! I love being able to think through problems complexly and create solutions for the company. In pharmaceuticals, the solutions you’re making are impacting the world around you because you are creating life-saving medicines for people. Being able to, at such a young age, pinpoint my career to hopefully be a major player in this industry was really helpful for me.

Claire summed up her experience by saying, “I’m really passionate about sharing my story. I think this program is something so, so special that a lot of young professionals should look into. It’s a great way to gain and refine your skill set and determine what you want to do. If you want to be in pharmaceutical engineering that’s fine, but what do you really want to do within the field specifically? This program is a really great way for young professionals to explore their options. I was able to shoot myself into places that a young professional might not necessarily be in at my age.”

The ISPE Foundation is dedicated to connecting students like Claire with leading pharmaceutical companies and providing life-altering, career-developing internships. We believe that it is our collective responsibility as industry professionals to provide access to opportunities and resources that empower the workforce of the future to learn and grow. This commitment extends to individuals from underrepresented communities who may not have the necessary resources and connections to thrive in the pharmaceutical field.

Are you a junior undergraduate or graduate student looking for an enriching summer experience, or do you know someone who is? Applications for the ISPE Foundation Diversity Internship Program for Summer 2024 are now open. Apply by 31 October 2023 to be part of this program and make a meaningful impact at one of the pharmaceutical industry’s leading organizations.


If you would like to contribute and help provide access to internships and other resources for students, please visit If your company is interested in partnering with us to provide internship opportunities to students, please reach out to Tori Johnson, Director of Development and Operations at the ISPE Foundation, via The future of our industry depends on our willingness to open doors and break down barriers for the next generation of pharmaceutical professionals.

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