Students Gain Experience at Innovation Village

By Amanda Mattox

A student analyzing samplesFor two years, Corazon Lara has worked in Innovation Village as a laboratory intern at Titan Oil Recovery, analyzing bacteria samples from different oil wells to develop nutrients that could one day aid in oil production.

The internship complements the learn-by-doing education the first-generation high school graduate and college student is receiving at Cal Poly Pomona, where she is double-majoring in microbiology and anthropology.

“My internship gives me something that I can use in the future,” Lara says. “It’s a good transition to the working world.”

Innovation Village, with numerous jobs and internships, has grown into an area of significant opportunity for the Cal Poly Pomona community.

Innovation Village is home to about a dozen private companies that have hired both interns and Cal Poly Pomona graduates, says Sandra Vaughan-Acton, who oversees Innovation Village as director of the Cal Poly Pomona Foundation’s real estate department. “These companies continue to support the mission of the university by providing these jobs and internships at a time when college graduates are worried about their job prospects following graduation.”

Major benefits for students working or interning at Innovation Village are the proximity to campus and the willingness of companies to adapt to school schedules.

Lara hopes to continue working in a laboratory after she graduates in 2014. She would like to become either a clinical laboratory scientist or work in forensic science.

“I love to do anything with lab work,” she says.

ASI President Christopher Osuala is another student interning at Innovation Village. Osuala, who is majoring in electrical engineering with a minor in business marketing, found an internship at Southern California Edison’s transmission and distribution business unit.

The internship has given him experience and technical skill — he hopes to work full time
for Edison after graduation and then become a manager after earning his MBA — and it has helped him develop a better understanding of how his education connects with his work at the internship. He even appreciates the dress code, wearing slacks and button-down shirts.

“These clothes put me in a business mind-set, and I now carry that mentality and professionalism into the classroom,” Osuala says.

To learn more about Innovation Village, visit www.innovationvillage.org/.