SCF Student Completes Immersive Biotech Internship Through Cross College Alliance

(Bradenton, Fla., Oct. 17, 2019)State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) student Krissy D’Agostino completed a rigorous, research-intensive internship in the lab of Christelle Bouchard, assistant professor of biology at University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee (USF-SM) this summer. The Environmental Discovery Awards Internship Program was made available through the funding of an anonymous donor and directed by the Cross College Alliance (CCA), a higher education partnership that includes SCF, USF-SM, New College of Florida, Ringling College of Art and Design and The Ringling Museum/FSU.

D’Agostino entered the biotechnology program in 2017 and plans to graduate this December. She learned of the opportunity to intern under Bouchard from Matthew Thomas, professor and biotechnology program manager at SCF. The CCA advised the Career Resource Center of the Environmental Discovery Awards Program and the internship at USF-SM, in turn allowing Thomas to encourage his students to apply. D’Agostino was selected as one of twelve students who were awarded paid internship experiences during the inaugural year of the program.

The internship involved studying microfauna in the Sarasota Bay, using a stereomicroscope to observe the miniscule organisms. D’Agostino collected, identified and cared for hydrozoans in the lab, changing the specimens’ water and fed them brine shrimp daily. D’Agostino isolated DNA from the hydrozoans, and tests were conducted to identify the organisms at a species level.

Under the direction of Bouchard, D’Agostino learned how to work with eukaryotic invertebrates. She also gained experience in the taxonomic terminology and characteristics used to identify hydrozoan species. The internship enhanced the wealth of laboratory experience D’Agostino has already gained at SCF. She worked alongside New College student Anna Wright in the lab and appreciated the opportunity the CCA creates for collaboration with students and faculty from other local institutions. 

“My favorite part about studying Biotechnology at SCF is the hands-on experience and knowing I have been provided the necessary skills to work in a professional setting when I graduate,” D’Agostino said.

D’Agostino will be putting her skills to work professionally even sooner than graduation. She was offered and accepted a position at Benchmark EA, a local environmental sampling and analysis company with a long history of employing SCF biotechnology graduates.

SCF’s biotechnology program fosters the development of technical laboratory skills and prepares students for careers in life science fields. Students graduate prepared to work for local industries and research organizations or transfer to a four-year university program.

To learn more about SCF’s biotechnology program, visit

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