Monday, 31 August 2020 15:48

UNCP chemistry student completes two internships at Pfizer

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UNCP student David Green interned with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer. UNCP student David Green interned with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer. UNCP

PEMBROKE — After spending the last two summers with engineers at one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, David Green can attest to the saying, "not all learning takes place in the classroom."


Green first interned with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer in Summer 2019, gaining substantial insights into the tremendous opportunities available at the industry-leading corporation. However, it was Green’s 10-week Summer 2020 internship, at Pfizer, that led to the UNC Pembroke chemistry student’s renewed sense of purpose as he resumed his studies this fall.

Green was in charge of several multi-dimensional projects within the engineering and maintenance departments at the Sanford site–home to one of the largest biotechnology hubs in the country. The facility manufactures clinical trial and commercial materials for conjugate vaccines and gene therapies.  

This summer, he completed a team project with a group of other interns. They were tasked with investigating Pfizer's global supply system and presenting a report in an innovative way.  

“Our group created an animated video showcasing one of Pfizer's vaccine products from raw materials through delivery to patients. We also included lessons learned from the pandemic.”

Pfizer develops and produces medicines and vaccines for a wide range of medical disciplines, including immunology, oncology, cardiology, endocrinology and neurology. Its products include the drug Lipitor, which is used to lower blood cholesterol.

During another project he was tasked with gathering data from plant engineering drawings and creating several spreadsheets that could be used to create maintenance schedules.

“The drawings showed piping layouts from the plant's central utilities building. This piping supplies cold water, steam, glycol, etc. to the manufacturing areas. I was gathering data on all valves in the glycol delivery system, as well as steam traps in the steam system. These steam trap maintenance schedules would be used to improve system efficiency and conserve energy.” 

Green hopes to land a full-time position at the Sanford site, following in the footsteps of several UNCP alumni like David McLean, a former Pfizer executive who worked for the company 17 years after earning a degree in chemistry. McLean, who advanced his way up the corporate ladder to supply chain director, helped open the door for Green.

“Job experience is something I didn’t have coming out of college. That was a stumbling block for me but I’m glad to be able to help David and other students gain that experience because it’s going to absolutely help them get in the door. 

“David is very smart and a hard worker. He brings a lot of experience from the military and UNCP and he would be a great asset to Pfizer.” 

A native of California, Green served 11 years in the U.S. Army before enrolling at UNCP in 2016.

The benefits of Green’s experiences working at Pfizer went beyond the one-on-one time spent with industry executives. Networking and experience are keys, he believes, to finding meaningful employment. For Green, his end goal of earning a UNCP degree is to make himself more marketable to a competitive career environment by gaining valuable job and life skills. 

“Internships are an excellent way to achieve both of these goals. Having someone know who you are and what you bring to the table goes a long way in the hiring process.”