Program introduces students to research commercialization process

· 3 min read

Program introduces students to research commercialization process

Natalia Vorobeva
Alyssa Amen | NUtech Ventures
Nataliia Vorobeva, a commercialization analyst intern and doctoral student in chemistry, presents background research to staff at NUtech Ventures.

When Nebraska research is patented and licensed — and then further developed into a product or service — every milestone represents a team effort.

Essential to that team are the graduate and undergraduate students working at NUtech Ventures.

Located at Nebraska Innovation Campus, NUtech Ventures is the technology commercialization affiliate for the University of Nebraska, serving the Lincoln and Kearney campuses. It protects and licenses the university’s intellectual property, while also supporting campus entrepreneurship through programming and sponsored events.

Since its internship program began in 2014, more than 50 students have worked at NUtech Ventures, representing seven colleges: engineering, education and human sciences, arts and sciences, law, journalism and mass communications, business, and agriculture and natural resources.

“The privilege of working with students helps us expand our capabilities,” said Brad Roth, executive director of NUtech Ventures. “Our goal is to make it a great student experience and give interns a different perspective of science, business and law.”

NUtech Interns
Alyssa Amen | NUtech Ventures
NUtech Ventures' 2019-2020 interns, from left: Alissa Bumgardner, Yifan Huang, Jessica Minnick, Max Qiu, Lathan Ellis, Nikita Gambhir, Hessan Sedaghat, Nataliia Vorobeva, Hozhabr Mozafari and Karen Ferreira da Silva. Not pictured: Cassandra Kostal.

Graduate students with science, technology or engineering backgrounds get a hands-on view of the research and patenting process by serving as commercialization analyst interns. The students participate in a structured training program and learn how to conduct background research for campus invention disclosures. Throughout the year, they generate reports that help assess each invention’s market potential, commercial readiness and options for intellectual property protection.

“Gaining knowledge in business, science and law is so unique — not many internships provide this kind of exposure and training,” said Max Qui, a commercialization analyst intern and doctoral student in nutrition. “I wanted to intern at NUtech because I wanted to see where scientific research goes after it leaves the lab and how it can make an impact outside of academia.”

NUtech interns develop workforce-ready skills to pursue a wide range of careers after graduation. Alumni have gone on to work in patent and contract law, technology transfer, and academic and industry research.

Now working in tech transfer, former intern Lauren Segal credits her NUtech experience with helping her choose a post-graduation career. Segal says she learned how to work in cross functional teams and research patent law — skills she uses daily as an associate technology manager at the University of Illinois-Chicago’s Office of Technology Management.

“I chose my career in technology transfer as a direct result of my experience at NUtech,” said Segal, who received her doctorate in plant pathology from Nebraska. “It’s an extremely rewarding internship, and I learned a lot. I would say to someone considering the role: do it.”

Applications for NUtech internships are now open. Learn more or apply.

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