Collaboration Express Transforming Indiana into a Magnet for High-Technology Jobs and Talent

Interns for Indiana student works at startup researching cancer detection

Nicholas Klitzing Nicholas Klitzing

The Interns for Indiana (IfI) program is an experiential learning program that pairs Purdue University students with hands on, meaningful internships at Indiana start-up companies. We spoke with IfI intern Nicholas Klitzing, a sophomore majoring in chemical engineering from Evansville, Ind., who got the chance to do groundbreaking cancer-detection research for a small biotech company. 

Q. What made you decide to enroll in the Interns for Indiana program?

I decided to enroll in the Interns for Indiana (IfI) program mainly for the opportunity to work with a startup company. I enjoy being able to simultaneously attend Purdue University and gain experience working for a company, especially since the company is so flexible with my class schedule.

Q. What company(s) did you work for and what duties did you perform?

I work for MorNuCo, Inc., at the Purdue Research Park. MorNuCo is a biotech company that focuses on new solutions to diseases by targeting a specific family of proteins. My primary job was to develop a device that could separate proteins to be later used in the company’s cancer detection protocol. I ran trials and learned procedures that are helping me develop the device into a useful product.

Q. What skills did you develop that might help you in securing future employment?

MorNuCo gave me the opportunity to follow through with a complete research project and all the components that came with it. I have presented my research periodically in front of the company executives and employees so discussions can take place about next steps for my research. I also maintain an up-to-date scientific notebook that contains the details of my research, just as I would have to do in any professional setting. MorNuCo provides help with my research through my supervisor when I need it, but also gives me freedom to conduct the research in my own way.

Q. What would you tell students new to the program to expect as far as workload and work environment?

I like working for a startup because I ended up interacting with just about everyone in the company. I engage in conversations with the CEO and CFO, and my supervisor is a director. The workload is very manageable. Like I mentioned, MorNuCo is very understanding and flexible with my schedule, allowing me to take all of my scheduled classes and still have time for work. However, it does help if you have large blocks of time (more than three hours) available especially when doing research. Also, the class work that accompanies the IfI program is easily manageable, because much of its homework involves reflecting on the internship or pursuing books and outside lectures that interest you.

Q. What advice would you give participating companies as far as how to make the internships worthwhile?

I would say definitely give interns freedom to perform their work the way they see fit, but be prepared to help them, especially at first. I was a little lost as to what I should do the first month or so of my internship, but there was plenty of help around to guide me through the beginning of my project. Companies should give interns the opportunity to interact with company executives, as well, because it makes the internship feel more meaningful and it shows that the company is actually interested in the work the intern is doing.

Interview conducted in March of 2015

Purdue University, 610 Purdue Mall, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-4600

© 2017 Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints | Maintained by EVPRP

Trouble with this page? Disability-related accessibility issue? Please contact EVPRP at