Ilona_CazorlaRandolph Student to Intern at Novartis

The Industrial Advisory Committee at County College of Morris (CCM), led by Dr. Jason Hudzik and Professor Jennifer Martin, is proud to announce that another successful CCM student has been offered an internship at Novartis.

Ilona Cazorla, of Randolph, a biology major at CCM, will be interning with Novartis as a quality control stability laboratory analyst after graduation. She also has been accepted to NJIT in the fall.

“This is an amazing opportunity for me,” remarked Cazorla. “Novartis is a world renowned pharmaceutical company and not many people get this chance that I was given. I have worked very hard and it is finally starting to pay off. I am truly grateful for this!”
The mission of the Industrial Advisory Committee at CCM is to partner with leading industry companies and to place CCM students in competitive internship programs, which are coordinated by Professor Anthony DiStasio, that provide them a unique learning opportunity. The Industrial Advisory Committee companies CCM works with are BASI, Islen; Pfizer, Parsippany; Lightening Energy at Picatinny Arsenal, Rockaway; Consumer Products Testing Service, West Orange; Elusys Theraputics, Pine Brook; Integrated Analytical Labs, Randolph; Siemens Healthcare, Flanders; Evonik, Parsippany; Novartis, East Hanover.

Each year, 10 to 15 student resumes are reviewed by CCM faculty to determine which should be forwarded on as internship applicants. To date, 20 students have received internships through the Industrial Advisory Committee at CCM. “We send our industry partners the brightest and the best,” stated DiStasio. “What was completely remarkable about this round of internship applications that were sent to Novartis was that all six applicants received a call for an interview.”

The CCM team works with the students to make sure they are prepared for the internship. Cazorla states, “The fact that the professor’s at CCM take their time to get to know their students is a big factor in this. Not one, but two professors approached me, making me aware of this internship, and told me to consider this opportunity. This would most likely not happen at a bigger institution, due to the larger student body, making it harder to single out students.”

Another CCM graduate who interned at Novartis several years ago is Timothy Hajj, who is currently attending Rutgers University in the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy. Commenting on the CCM internship program, Hajj stated, “CCM prepared me for my internship. I did not feel as though I couldn’t complete the work that was being asked of me during my internship. It was my first time being in a professional lab environment and I was able to learn a lot during my time there.”

Both Hajj and Cazorla started first at CCM and each shared that the college gave them opportunities to prepare them for the future.

“The quality of education I received at CCM was exceptional, not to mention the small sized classes,” said Cazorla. “The student-to-staff ratio allowed the professors to get to know their students more. To me, the amount of time a student gets to interact with his/her professor is crucial, and all my professors were always available to offer help and advice.”

“Since partnering with Novartis in 2015, this is the third year in a row that they accepted a CCM student,” said DiStasio. “What’s truly remarkable about our internship program is that every time I speak with a company they cannot distinguish a student from an Ivy League school with a CCM student.”

The Industrial Advisory Committee at CCM has been a long standing cooperative effort between the college and local industry leaders. The committee is chaired by a faculty member at CCM and representation from private industries. With industry input, CCM attempts to provide laboratory skills and technical knowledge to both the biotechnology program and the chemical technology programs at CCM. The college also adjusts the curriculum and skill sets to meet industry needs and requirements.