Life Science Education

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CLSI Life Science Connections

City College of San Francisco (CCSF) students Nicole Grant, an intern at Chimera Bioengineering, and Yoko Hirata, interning at Gladstone Institutes in Dr. Jorge Palop’s lab, speak with Rocio Gomez, Technical Scientific Consultant at BioTek Instruments, during Speed Networking Event at CCSF.

The California Life Science Institute’s (CLSI’s) Life Science Connections program facilitates student-industry connections that inspire and develop life science careers, particularly among underrepresented students.

As a non-profit connected to the California Life Sciences Association, CLSI is available to join educational collaborations as a funded partner to facilitate meaningful connections with industry professionals. Such connections bring learning to life and foster ongoing professional connections that can help launch and bolster students’ career paths.

Creating Access

All of the industry connections that CLSI facilitates have a career focus, enabling students to meet individuals from diverse backgrounds, experiences and careers, and to develop ongoing professional connections that will enhance their career exploration. We identify volunteers for informational interviews, job shadows, resume review and mock interviews. To sustain these connections, we work with students and teachers to set up and utilize LinkedIn accounts and to and follow-up with industry professionals.

As part of CLSI’s commitment to create access to life science careers for underrepresented students – and to help diversify the industry’s talent pipeline – CLSI aims to connect these students to industry professionals who look like them, creating a sense of possibility and awareness that opens eyes and doors. We reach out to industry groups such as Genentech’s African Americans in Biotech and other professional groups to tap role models and inspirational mentors to work with students.

Virtual Career Talks

CLSI has seized upon a medium that students identify with and are responsive to, bringing a real-life element to their learning: live video career talks. Employing this vehicle allows industry professionals to engage from their place of work, demonstrate equipment, introduce colleagues, thus allowing students to “experience” their work environment.  It also makes it possible for CLSI to tap more industry volunteers from a diverse set of backgrounds, experiences and careers, who might otherwise be unable to leave their work sites to participate in science initiatives.

Not only is it possible for more industry professionals to participate, but by tapping a medium that students are familiar with and responsive to, CLSI can extend its reach well beyond the Bay Area to classrooms that are not located near life science clusters.

Speed Networking

Another valuable component of the CLSI Life Science Connections program is the Speed Networking events that we host with industry professionals and students from high school through college. In a relatively short evening, students are able to make introductions with 7-8 industry professionals to learn about new career options, and to create valuable connections that can support their career journey.

CLSI also hosts Speed Networking events with Young Women in Bio for female students to encourage more females to engage in life science careers.

If you are interested in partnering with CLSI to bring an industry component to your educational program, or if you are interested in becoming an industry volunteer, please contact
Lori Lindburg, CLSI President & CEO at