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Internship Spotlight: Zach Dubner

Zach Dubner

Zach Dubner, a senior in the Agricultural Business Management program, spent his summer vacation interning twenty hours a week without pay.

“While that does not sound enticing, my internship for Deborah Thompson, the Director of Research Partnerships for CALS, was a rich and rewarding experience,” he said.

Thompson’s role at the university is facilitating interactions between NC State faculty and potential industry partners to align common goals that lead to research collaboration. During his internship, Dubner was a part of this process and contributed to facilitating these interactions.

“I met faculty scientists such as Amy Grunden and Chris Reberg-Horton, as well as industry experts, including Paul Ulanch from the NC Biotechnology Center, Jeff Brown from BASF, Heather O’Keefe from Novozymes and Phil Taylor and Laura McConnel from Bayer,” he said. “Without this internship, I never would have met these individuals who collectively gave me new perspectives, mentorship, industry connections and inspiration.”

Dubner provided Dr. Thompson with in-depth research on three companies that were potential industry partners. He developed business briefs for those companies with details on company history, financials, values, integrated reports and past university partnerships.

“My work on business briefs helped me formulate a realistic long-term career plan so I can build the future I desire,” Dubner said. “The internal administrative team at the North Carolina Agricultural Research Service used my work to prepare for future industry engagement.”

Through informational interviews with employees from companies in the RTP area, he built his professional network and learned more about what their day-to-day looks like.

“They taught me firsthand what companies are looking for in an ideal employee candidate: a self-starter who knows business basics and market dynamics and has specialized technical expertise,” Dubner said.

Through his internship, Dubner learned how to collaborate, communicate in a business environment and land meetings with people who can open doors for new opportunities.

“My summer vacation helped me develop a unique skill set and improve in the areas I was lacking,” he said. “I am now ready to take on a research assistantship this coming Fall.”