My first month at MicroSio (which will undergo a name change soon) has been a really enjoyable learning experience. I’ve been tasked with everything from market research to designing experiments in the lab, and I’ve found my Davidson liberal arts education extremely helpful in preparing me for a Swiss Army knife-type of role within the company. At MicroSio, we make silicone microspheres for encapsulating active ingredients in cosmetic products in order to control their release onto the skin, and as I’ve become more comfortable with the preparation and properties of these microspheres, I’ve been allowed more freedom to experiment.
Since the company is in its infancy, almost any experiment I choose to perform may be helpful in some way, so I’ve tried to enjoy my independence while hopefully providing the company with valuable information. In many ways, this internship has been a perfect fit for me—the hours are flexible, so I still get some of my cherished (yet, still ephemeral) downtime this summer; I can apply techniques and knowledge from my chemistry major to much of the experimentation, and I have a variety of projects that I’m juggling at once so that I never get bored.
My two superiors were kind of placed together by chance: Nick is a business student who wanted to be involved in a technology startup, and Wyatt helped invent the microsphere technology itself. They’ve both been excellent resources, not only for my work this summer, but also as I try to figure out what I want to do after college. It’s been great to witness first-hand one of the (many) paths to starting a company—this one was cultivated by the academic resources and personal networks at Duke.
While the entrepreneurship world does interest me in the long run, I have some trepidation about the risk involved in pursuing such a path; but in the case of MicroSio, Nick and Wyatt have both worked on this project while simultaneously pursuing degrees, and a similar path may be appealing to me as well. In the next month, I’m looking forward to running some analysis on the various experiments I’ve conducted, and taking part in some of the decision making that will be necessary for MicroSio in the next few months as we decide which particular products to develop further.