Perfect match: Biology and business major helps support biotech association
She has generated industry data for state leaders, built relationships with biotech businesses and helped represent South Dakota at an international bioscience event. And she’s still in college.
Megan Haberman, an incoming senior at Augustana University, spent her summer as an intern for South Dakota Biotech, the state affiliate of the international BIO trade organization.
The biology and business major grew up on a farm in southwest Minnesota and graduated from Heron Lake-Okabena High School before enrolling at Augustana in 2016.
“I have always been interested in science, but my experience at Augie has sparked my interest to broaden my knowledge of the business world,” she said.
Haberman worked under the leadership of executive director Joni Johnson and with support from the National Science Foundation EPSCoR project and an Economic Development Administration i6 grant to promote development of the biotech economy. The internship showed her how she could combine her education in biology and business, Haberman said.
“During my college experience thus far, I have had a hard time determining how I could utilize these majors into a career that makes use of both. I knew this internship would be a valuable opportunity to gain as much exposure as possible,” she said.
“Joni has allowed me to grow as a person and in my knowledge of the industry by allowing me to take part in meetings, speak to her members and giving me a behind-the-scenes look at the business world. I am truly grateful for her mentorship throughout this entire experience.”
Haberman’s internship experience has brought her a broad look at the biotech industry. She has helped generate data relevant to the growth of the biotech industry in the state following the Science and Technology Plan from 2013, which will be presented to the South Dakota EPSCoR REACH Committee and Governor’s Office of Economic Development.
She also has worked on updating the list of current bioscience companies in the state, making recommendations to past association survey responses and meeting with members to foster relationships, just to name a few.
A pivotal experience was attending the BIO World Congress in Des Moines, where she said she learned about how other countries work with each other to find synergies in their biotech industries.
“I truly enjoy learning new things whenever I get the chance, and the biotech industry allows me to learn more about it as it continues to transform and grow when it moves,” Haberman said.
“I find it very exciting to be able to be involved with an industry that focuses on technologies and products that are meant to improve our lives and our planet for the future. I have many environmental concerns, as most of my generation does for the future, so I am incredibly excited to see how the biotech industry continues to work specifically to protect our environment.”
While Haberman is headed back to class at Augustana this week, she’s not leaving her internship behind. She will continue to work for South Dakota Biotech as she approaches graduation this spring. After that, she hopes to stay in Sioux Falls.
“This experience has taught me so much about the biotech industry and has allowed me to grow with the industry itself,” she said. “I would definitely enjoy continuing to work in the biotech industry, as I have found it to align with my interests going forward.”