Jennifer Beaune, SCC Biotech student, A.S. degree/Academic Transfer
Laboratory Technician at Benchmark Labs, Lincoln
SCC: What are your responsibilities in your current job?
Jennifer: I monitor the temperature and carbon dioxide levels in the clean cell and virus labs. I also monitor the growth of our cell lines to ensure the cells are healthy and not subjected to contamination, and I monitor the rate of infection of our viruses. I am responsible for sub-culturing the cells and for inoculating the cells with viruses, although I do these tasks with a senior technician as well. I also support other staff with projects if I am not busy with cell/virus work, such as cleaning lab ware and preparing solutions.
SCC: What do you enjoy most about your job in the biotech field?
Jennifer: I would have to say I enjoy working with viruses and partnering with a knowledgeable senior tech. We quickly established a routine and work like a well-oiled machine in less than six months. She is kind and patient and quickly becoming a good friend. I also appreciate that my supervisor recognizes my abilities and competency and trusts my opinions when I give them.
SCC: Why is the Biotech field a good field to get into?
Jennifer: Biotechnology is an excellent field to get into because right now biological technicians have a projected field growth rate of 10 percent. Many people don’t realize how many jobs there are in biotech in Nebraska. Agriculture relies on science to survive the changing conditions, and that means open positions without people who have the right skillset. One of the main skillsets that makes me stand out in this field is the amount of lab time I had at SCC. I was able to dive right into the job field because I was already used to the environment, and that isn't always the case with a traditional university.
SCC: What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into the biotech field, but are not sure where to start?
Jennifer: I would start with some general science classes. Biology and Chemistry I and II are great places to start. It will give you an idea about the intensity of the material and if it’s a good fit. This field is going to require at least a two-year degree to get into the door. All of the biotech instructors always had their door open for me and were willing to help me through difficult material and difficult times. They want to see their students succeed, and it shows.
SCC: After overcoming a number of personal obstacles, how were you able to push through?
Jennifer: The Biotechnology area at SCC was a huge source of support for me throughout these difficult times and with the help of all the instructors, I was able to not lose hope and keep my eyes on my goal of graduating with honors.
SCC: What are your goals for the future?
Jennifer: I originally wanted to go back to school and get a Master of Science degree in Molecular Biology or Microbiology. Now that I've been with Benchmark Biolabs for four months, I can genuinely say I would love to retire from here if I end up staying in Nebraska for the rest of my life.