Colin Smith, Ph.D.
From Wi-Stars to Wistar
Wi-Stars Graduation: August 2015
While working on his graduate research in neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania, Colin knew from the start he didn’t want to become a research professor. He pondered over his skill set and asked himself in which scientific endeavor would they be best applied. Colin wanted to work on the big-picture scale of scientific discovery rather than the highly focused nature of research.
How he became a Wi-Star
Talking over a cup of coffee with someone who worked in Wistar’s Business Development office, he asked about day-to-day life in academic technology transfer and realized he might fit right in. This was during the time the Wi-Stars internship was being launched, so Colin was in the right place at the right time. He became the very first Wi-Stars intern in March 2015.
The Wi-Stars experience
Colin remembers those days as very busy: working in the lab during the week and on internship assignments over the weekend, reading Wistar research papers and gleaning potential patent material, and doing his best to show his supervisor that he appreciated the opportunity and was eager to adsorb as much as possible. While a Wi-Stars intern, Colin realized that he loved the job’s potential for creativity.
“I found the experience extremely valuable on many levels,” said Colin. “Besides acquiring basic skills in the field, I got to expand my scientific background, practice science writing to draft descriptions of Wistar technologies for commercial audiences, and establish a connection with the team and their network.”
As his assignments were actually being put into practice, Colin thought that his contribution to the office felt real, which gratified and motivated him. He also got a taste of what it would be like to work for a small research institution like Wistar, with an agile technology transfer process that becomes directly involved with the scientists in the early stages of their research.
All of this was instrumental for Colin to be hired as a Licensing Associate at Wistar upon his Ph.D. graduation and completion of the internship. In his current position as Senior Associate in Licensing and Business Development at Wistar, he gets to mentor his own Wi-Stars interns and works alongside scientists to ensure their discoveries are developed into products that benefit patients and, to use his own words, to “make science happen.”