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Sigmapharm Internship Gives Students Exposure to Industry

By Jenna Pizzi

Published on January 30, 2019

Gianna MassiFive USciences undergraduate students in the pharmaceutical sciences and pharmacology/toxicology programs learned about different career opportunities and applied their learning from the classroom and labs to the real world during a four-week summer internship experience at Sigmapharm Laboratories in Bensalem, Pa.

"As a chemistry major, Sigmapharm opened my eyes to the many possibilities of the pharmaceutical industry,” said Gianna Massi C’19. “The amazing work environment, organized skill building schedule, and hands-on approach genuinely sparked my curiosity in the field.  As a result of my internship, I am excited to explore pharmaceutics, and all it has to offer."

The students interned either in the analytical chemistry department or in the research and development departments of Sigmapharm Laboratories, an innovative pharmaceutical company specializing in the development and manufacture of unique generic oral solid dosage forms.

The students also encountered USciences alumni now employed at Sigmapharm, including Chahinaz Kouba PhD‘15 (Pharmaceutics), Athan-Jeed Bandoy PharmSci’16, Sinjin Lucio PharmSci’16, and Christina Besada PharmSci’17.

“We are able to teach these students something that they might have learned in their classes or in the lab, but haven’t seen how the parts like making a tablet or capsule or powder play into the bigger picture,” said Dr. Kouba, who said she regrets not having more exposure to the pharmaceutical industry during her time as a student. “If you have the opportunity to work in the industry it opens up so much of your understanding of what the industry is and how to link industry to academia.”

Jinal Patel“The Sigmapharm internship was a great chance to use in the drug development process many of the concepts I learned in class,” said Daniel Mongeluzi PhSci’19. “I was exposed to the UV spectrophotometer, an instrument whose operating principles I learned about in my pharmaceutics class.”

Students were able to participate in industrial research and in a development laboratory, therefore, solidifying interest in these career paths, said Maria Cavallo PhSci’19. They were exposed to issues facing drug development scientists during the internship including the importance of scaling a project from pilot to production and the importance of record keeping for regulatory inspections. It was insightful to see the technical skills necessary for a career in the pharmaceutical industry, said Rachel Trimble PhSci’19.

"The Sigmapharm internship did so much for me. It helped me realize that I made the perfect career choice as a future Pharmacologist,” said Jinal Patel PH/TX’19. “The skills that I have gained from this internship, are ones that I will never let go because they made me more confident in myself and my abilities."

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