AndrewWe interviewed Andrew Grand-Pierre: a student from our Biotechnology Masters program and the recipient of the blue ribbon of excellence at the prestigious  Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Graduate Internship Program! Keep reading to learn more about his experiences there and how his time at Georgetown University helped him to inform his future career path. 

What is your area of study/academic interests?

I received my Masters in Biotechnology from Georgetown University’s Biotechnology Department. I enjoyed the great number of opportunities I received while at Georgetown because I felt like my program believed in me. They were completely supportive of my decisions and the coursework was challenging and relevant. In short, I really liked going to class. Even though I spent many hours in class I was always attentive. The best way to study was to go to the Dahlgren Memorial Library and constantly revise. I never got too stressed because I would casually take breaks and go easy on myself when I needed it. My program directors told me about technology transfer and they suggested that I focus on this area at Georgetown. My first internship was at the Georgetown Office of Technology Commercialization. I was able to use what I learned in my marketing and intellectual property courses to successfully perform the task of market research and patent summaries. I did very well and learned a lot from my time there.

How has Georgetown fostered this?

I have always wanted to go to Georgetown University ever since I was about six years old. I used to play basketball at the Guy Mason Park on Wisconsin Ave. and I would see people wearing bulldog shirts. I said, “I’m going to get one of those one day.” When I got that acceptance letter, I felt like it was a dream-come-true. I have had the opportunity to meet some great people from all around the world. I learned as much as I could about the different cultures and customs that could be found in each program. I feel very fortunate to have been able to listen to many great speakers. My professors gave me the tools to be able to speak with CEO’s and founders of companies with confidence. I really liked working in groups to be able to solve problems. I believe those simulations helped to come up with creative solutions and informed my decisions in the workplace. My supervisor at OTC was extremely helpful and always gave me praise for my work, which made me want to work even harder. He also made me aware of the career options I would be able to access.

How did you hear about the Livermore opportunity?

My program directors noticed my accomplishments and I received a medal of excellence for the work I did at the Office of Technology Commercialization(OTC). That was when they presented me with the opportunity to continue my pursuits at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). When I got to the airport in San Francisco, I bought a motorcycle and rode into town. I took a wrong turn and I ended up in Berkeley. So I had to ride from Berkeley to Livermore and I took side streets about half the time. The 45 minute ride took me about 4 hours.

Tell us more about your experience there.

At LLNL, I saw a great number of novel technologies that could revolutionize our way of life. I met with some of the most brilliant scientists in the world.  I worked on a portfolio of patents about implantable electrodes. During my time on the west coast, I also got a chance to go to Palo Alto and travel through the Silicon Valley and meet with representatives from great tech.-oriented companies. I went to the Facebook campus and walked around. The people that worked there looked younger than me.  It was very hot during the summer, but that was a small price to pay for the great opportunity to further advance my career. Also, the market research that I gathered for the portfolio I reviewed led to me receiving a blue ribbon. I called my program director and he told me "this is just the beginning, you're not done yet." Now I’m thinking about my next career move. I believe I’m going to find a job in marketing or business development. I’m thinking about getting a MBA or going to law school. Who knows, I might try to do both.

Any advice to prospective students?

For anyone considering joining any program at Georgetown, make sure you take advantage of every opportunity you receive. Always be ready for new experiences and be eager to meet new people. You will use the advice you receive from your peers and the courses you take to transform yourself into a high caliber professional. Always remember that no one at Georgetown University wants you to fail. Always take the extra step and challenge yourself to take the road less traveled because that will make all the difference.