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Co-ops and Internships


Lara Larson, Biosystems Engineering

What was involved/what was your role during your internship or co-op?
I was in a process development engineering role. Rocky Mount had a preexisting manufacturing facility that independently produces 25% of the US sterile injectables. They have recently added on to that pre-existing manufacturing facility, so I was working on the project of working on the tech transfer into the new addition of the facility. The tech transfer included development batches and stability batches of various drug products, as well as regulatory report writing.

What was one of your favorite parts about completing this internship or co-op?
The Pfizer Summer Student Worker Program included exposing a variety of aspects of the company to the student workers across every site. My absolute favorite part was the extent of networking opportunities. Virtual aspects allowed me to connect with Pfizer professionals worldwide. It was incredibly interesting to hear all the different departments and job specialties that are a part of the company, especially during the challenges of COVID-19.

How have you benefited from participating in this internship or co-op?
It allowed me to narrow down on what my ideal education and career path is, specifically what next steps I need to take to achieve my goals. Additionally, I got more of a concrete idea of a particular jobs that I could see myself pursuing and enjoying. Another benefit was gaining a lot of foundational as well as detailed industry knowledge, specifically the manufacturing and drug production jargon.

What specific skills (technical or professional) did you learn or develop during your internship or co-op?
I learned a lot of the details for FDA filings and preparing for regulatory audits. Additionally, I solidified some of my laboratory skills with real world application. I also was able to get better at building meaningful connections quickly. Since I moved to a state where I didn't know anyone, I was frequently put out of my comfort zone and had to learn how to function as a completely independent adult.

Why would you recommend internships or co-ops to other students?

The industry experience and knowledge gained while still in school offers irreplaceable knowledge. Additionally, you get motivated to see what you are working towards during your education. Having opportunities like internships, you see how you can apply what you’re learning to “real world” applications. You can also benefit from mentoring in a professional context. Pfizer put a lot of emphasis on mentorships, and I anticipate continuing the relationships that I built with them throughout my career.