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Biotech center in Georgetown welcomes its first interns this summer, and two Southwestern students take advantage of it

One of the reasons Southwestern University helped start the Texas Life Sciences Collaboration Center in Georgetown was because of the potential it offered for student internships.

That promise has become a reality this summer as two Southwestern students are among the TLCC’s first group of student interns.

Senior business major Sarah Holifield is helping the TLCC on a project it is doing with the City of Georgetown. The project involves determining the feasibility of giving businesses incentives for installing solar panels. An array of solar panels has been set up on the top of a parking area near the TLCC’s facility in south Georgetown, and Holifield is monitoring it daily to see how much energy it is collecting.

Holifield is minoring in environmental studies, so she said this project has been a perfect fit for her. She said she particularly enjoys the weekly seminars given by representatives from the various companies in the TLCC, because she has learned how people got their businesses started.

The TLCC was founded in 2007 by Southwestern, the City of Georgetown and the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce. It is currently home to five companies – Intralink-Spine LLC, Molecular Templates Inc., Quantum Logic Devices, Radix BioSolutions and Viral Genetics. A sixth member company, Deaton Engineering, is located nearby.

Junior biology major Brittney Logan is working with Molecular Templates, which is developing new therapies for treating cancer and other diseases. She also is helping TLCC Executive Director Russ Peterman on a feasibility study for a new project.

Logan said the internship has been helpful for her because she is undecided between applying for medical school or pursuing a career in research. She hopes her research experience this summer will help her land a research position with one of her professors at Southwestern before she graduates. She also hopes to continue working at TLCC.

“I really like it,” she said. “All the employees have been very helpful.”

The TLCC has two other student interns this summer – Jennifer Duke, a biomechanical engineering student at Stanford University and a 2008 graduate of Georgetown High School, and Jeffrey Keenan, an aerospace engineering student at The University of Texas at Austin.

With the TLCC growing at a rate of 50 percent a year, Peterman said they should have even more internships available next year.