Five students in the new biotechnology master’s degree program at California State University, Fresno, who will do a unique 150-hour internship this summer, will tour Pacific Ethanol Inc. in Madera on Wednesday, March 21, and meet company chairman Bill Jones.

The tour kicks off a partnership between Pacific Ethanol Inc. and the new biotechnology program in Fresno State’s Biology Department in the College of Science and Mathematics.

The two-year Professional Science Master’s degree in biotechnology, established in fall 2005, is the only one of its kind in the central San Joaquin Valley. It is drawing strong interest locally, nationally and internationally, said Dr. Alice Wright, director of the program.

The multidisciplinary master’s program provides training in chemistry, biology, and business and ag biotechnology. About half of the 23 enrollees are international students and the program has received inquiries from China and India and from companies throughout the United States.

The program offers students who are fundamentally educated in varied scientific disciplines opportunities to advance their scientific skills and also to acquire the business knowledge and skills necessary to commercialize emerging technologies or their products.

“Hallmarks of the new program are personalized hands-on learning and personal contact with biotechnology practitioners in industries such as Pacific Ethanol Inc.,” Wright said.

Pacific Ethanol Inc. will provide a springboard for students’ internship experiences, she said. A 150-hour internship at a biotechnology company is a degree requirement.

For more information on the master’s program or about the biotechnology students’ visit to Pacific Ethanol Inc., contact Tambra Bane, associate director of the Fresno State program, at 559.709.4431.

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