Paula Caffree is a senior at Kean University and she is the first biology major to intern at L'Oréal Company in Clark in the summer of 2017. Caffree is currently applying to graduate school to attain a master's degree in clinical research.
Being a biology major offers Caffree different career options. She was fortunate enough to be contacted by a professor to be offered an internship with L'Oréal.
"My internship position took place in a microbiology laboratory and my duties consisted of assisting the senior researchers with tasks such as assays, gram stains, neutralization verification and other small organizational/clerical projects," said Caffree .
"This internship has taught me how the microbiology department contributes to the overall research and innovation initiative in a business setting. They determine how cosmetic products behave in the hands of the consumers. Challenge testing is used to determine the effectiveness of the preservative system in the tested products by inoculating them with specific strains of bacteria and fungi and observing the rate of kill over time."
Like many college students working in their intended fields, it was equally exciting as it was challenging for Caffree to adjust to the transition from an educational laboratory to an industrial one.
"Despite that challenge, I was able to successfully adapt, and I was able to help meet my deadlines."
Outside of class, Caffree enjoys reading, exercising and dancing. She also volunteers for the The Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP) at Morristown Medical Center. HELP is a program at Morristown Medical Center that allows volunteers to visit adult patients at their bedside and provide therapeutic activities and companionship.
"With the HELP program, I provide optimal care for elderly patients by talking to them and doing fun activities that keep them active and alert," said Caffree .
Caffree's participation in the L'Oréal Company, as well as her volunteering and connections with her professors, will set her apart when she goes to apply for jobs after graduation. She has gained valuable experience in her field and she has made connections in the biology field. She has an insight into what the environment is like which ultimately sets her apart from other applicants.
"Students should get out of their comfort zones and explore different career options in their majors. Finding an internship is an amazing opportunity and if you happen to get one, remember to be friendly, work hard, make friends and ask questions," said Caffree.
If you are thinking of becoming involved in an internship in your field, contact the Office of Internships and Cooperative Education at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit them in the Green Lane Academic Building Room 245.