UMass Amherst iCons Students Land Summer Internships in Massachusetts Life Science, Energy Firms

Robert Green
Robert Green
Megan Brady
Megan Brady
Theo Smith
Theo Smith
Anwesh Yerneni
Anwesh Yerneni

AMHERST, Mass. –  Six students in the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Integrated Concentration in Science (iCons) program are now working at paid internships with Massachusetts life science and energy technology firms for the summer, at Anika Therapeutics of Bedford, Waters Corp. of Milford and Boston-Power, Inc. of Westborough.

As a new model in science education, the iCons program at UMass Amherst has students work in teams to identify and conduct research on real-world, global problems while also completing traditional core studies in their selected majors. Program director and senior lecturer in chemistry Justin Fermann says this integrated approach provides iCons graduates with a significant advantage when they enter the science and technology workforce.

The 2016 iCons interns are:

  • Robert Green, a senior just graduated from Lancaster, biology major, at Anika Therapeutics
  • Olivia Czubarow, a 2017 senior from Wellesley, chemical engineering major, at Anika Therapeutics
  • Jacob Lytle, a senior just graduated from Hingham, chemistry and biochemistry major, at Waters Corp.
  • Megan Brady, a 2017 senior from Mendon, biochemistry/molecular biology major, at Waters Corp.
  • Theo Smith, a 2017 senior from Concord, mechanical engineering major, at Boston-Power, Inc.
  • Anwesh Yerneni, a junior from Mansfield, chemical engineering major, at Boston-Power, Inc.

Charles Sherwood, chief executive officer at Anika Therapeutics and UMass Amherst alumnus with a Ph.D. in polymer science, says students in the iCons program have a proven successful track record at his company, which hired last year’s iCons summer intern Jacob Landeck of Wilbraham. “Internships have obvious benefits to students, who can be very effective and productive contributors to the company as well,” Sherwood says.

“Our first iCons intern was fantastic and helped us develop a new product concept, but we were not successful in attracting him with a permanent position. Jacob was tasked with a number of assignments in microbiology, aimed at strengthening our capabilities in developing assessments of new cell-based technologies. Based on the success of his work, we wanted to move that work forward and were excited to attract Jacob as a permanent employee to continue those efforts.”

The CEO adds, “We task interns with useful assignments and work with them to accomplish set goals, both for the company and for their own development. We have experienced professionals providing them with useful direction, but they certainly do a lot of independent work.”

Sherwood notes, “The students coming out of the iCons program are very polished and very capable. It has worked out really well for us. I would not be surprised to find that it is one of the best, if not the best, in the country.”

During Green’s internship at Anika, he will work on new product development and some biomaterials preparation and testing related to tissue regeneration. Czubarow will work with a chemical engineering group at the same firm whose members are developing a second formulation for an existing medical device used in recovery after surgery.

At Waters Corp., which designs, manufactures, sells and services technologies for measuring substances important to health and national security fields, interns Lytle and Brady will divide their time between two of the company’s divisions, research and development and marketing. They will gain experience in fundamental research techniques and equipment, including liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, one of the most powerful and commonly used in pharmacokinetic studies and bioanalysis, with a focus on improving solutions to problems in areas from food safety to pharmaceuticals. They will also learn what Waters customers do to solve real-world problems using the company’s high-end instrumentation.

At Boston-Power, Inc., Smith and Yerneni will conduct research in developing electric vehicle battery applications including lithium-ion cell design and materials.