SCF Biotech Student Accepts Internship at Mote Marine

(Bradenton, Fla., April 19, 2016) — State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota, biotechnology student Matthew Britten is doing research at Mote Marine Laboratories while juggling classes. Britten earned a competitive National Science Foundation internship at Mote Marine this year.

Britten stood out among the students competing for the internship. His application required a resume, school transcripts and an essay describing why he should be chosen for the internship over other students. Britten’s essay focused on how the internship could help him combine his love for science and passion for the environment and animals. Britten, whose research at Mote is focused on protecting the coral reef system, is working about 10 hours a week on antibiotic research using shark samples and bacteria, which may eventually have applications for both animals and humans. He also attends scientific research seminars presented by graduate students and scientists at Mote and is gaining experience in scientific writing.

He one day hopes to focus his research on viruses but added, “I’ve really fallen in love with the antibiotic research, too.”

He said he is using all the research techniques he learned in science classes at SCF with Dr. Matthew Thomas, associate professor, natural sciences.

“I’m doing a lot of the fun lab rat kind of stuff,” Britten said. “All the techniques Dr. Thomas taught me, I’m using every single one at Mote. Everything he’s taught me in the lab and on the computer, I use over there.”

“It’s really cool refining all of those techniques I learned,” Britten added.

As part of the internship, Britten has been paired with Dr. Kim Beach Ritchie, a senior scientist and the manager of the Marine Microbiology program at Mote, who has helped him perfect his lab skills. Ritchie began her work at Mote on coral microbiology, coral diseases and coral host resistance in 2004.

The internship is open to undergraduate students enrolled at SCF, University of South Florida, Sarasota-Manatee, New College of Florida and Ringling College of Art and Design. It requires all interns to enroll in one class at USFSM. The Mote Research Experience for Undergraduate Students offers up to 12 paid internships a year.  The collaborative efforts among the region’s colleges made it easier for Britten to get the class he needed to accept the internship. 

Britten said the registrars at SCF and USFSM were “great to work with,” making the process go smoothly as he got enrolled at the beginning of the semester. He plans to enroll full time at USFSM after he completes his AS degree in biotechnology at SCF in December. He said he ultimately wants to get a doctorate in microbiology and genetics.

For more information on the SCF Biotechnology program or the natural sciences department, contact Dr. Thomas at 941-752-5624 or For more information on the Mote internship program, visit

SCF’s Matthew Britten has accepted an internship at Mote Marine Laboratory.

SCF’s Matthew Britten has accepted an internship at Mote Marine Laboratory.

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