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Diagnostic Science Lab Benefits from having International Trainee’s Skills/perspective

Posted on Friday, June 30th, 2023 at 5:36 pm.

Greenheart Exchange; Photo credit: Robert Harper and the team at IVD Solutions

Greenheart Exchange works with hundreds of globally-minded U.S. businesses who hire international interns/trainees through our Career Advancement Program (CAP). This Department of State-designated program provides career enhancing and cultural exchange experiences for bright, energetic international students, recent graduates, or professionals and allows U.S. businesses to tap into diverse skills and perspectives while increasing their visibility in today’s global marketplace.

We recently interviewed Robert Harper, Founder and CEO of IVD Solutions, who currently hosts George Temeng, a recent Masters in Biological Sciences graduate from the UK.  IVDS is composed of skilled engineers and scientists who develop innovative diagnostic tools and technology. IVDS’s mission is to discover scientific solutions that improve the quality of life through timely, accessible, actionable diagnostic information. Here’s what Mr. Harper had to say about his business and hiring a CAP intern/trainee with Greenheart.

Why did your organization decide to host an intern/trainee?

My organization had a keen interest in obtaining experience, knowledge, and skills from talented graduates locally as well as internationally whose expertise are in molecular diagnostics with diverse background and culture. It is our first time hosting an international trainee and since we have seen great integration (in the team and project) and positive contributions, we believe this will not be our last trainee.

What’s it like getting the intern/trainee situated and comfortable in your business? How have they contributed to your business?

Having a trainee can be quite a big challenge at the beginning of the program but as the time passes by and the trainee familiarizes himself/ herself with our ongoing projects, eventually the business benefits from their contribution and hard work.

For instance, our current trainee is helping in developing novel POC tests for metabolic disorders such as phenylketonuria which is going into clinical trials next year and will be on the market soon. In addition, he is key co-inventor in several USA and International Patent applications filed together with Dr. Ivan Petyaev, MD, PhD Medical doctor, Robert Harper IVDS President, and another with the Scientific team at IVDS:

1. U.S. Provisional Application for “Capture and Use of Results for Diagnostic Assays via Point-of-Collection Devices”

2. Key co-inventor in a USA and International Patent application filed together with Dr Ivan Petyaev, MD, PhD Medical doctor for a strip mini cassette for detecting patients with acute hypoxia conditions and measure OCCL on spacecraft environment “Study of the Peripheral Tissue Oxygen Supply in the Crew Members of the ISS”.

3. U.S. Provisional Application for the Determination of blood galactose for patients with galactosemia.

Lastly, he has been able to participate and present at conferences (some noted here):

  • 1. The New England Connection for Phenylketonuria (PKU) and Allied Disorders (NECPAD), September 23-25, 2022 in Massachusetts
  • 2. PKU Illinois Conference, October 24th, 2022
  • 3. PKU Global Virtual Conference in Australia, December 3rd -7th 2022

What have been some of the benefits of having an international intern/trainee in your business?

They have a diverse and interesting opinion. This difference in points of view helps in analyzing and solving problems, thus making valuable contributions to the various projects assigned on. This is largely due to the fact that they are coming from different academic institutions with diverse understanding and approaches in problem solving.  This can be attested to the fact that he has been very helpful to our business to complete two of our projects which we have been working on and ended in getting a provisional Patent and recognition by the International Space Station (ISS).

The employees are very happy and willing from the first day to provide the assistance and support that the trainee needs to integrate and contribute meaningfully to ongoing projects. Also, the employees have shown great appreciation and love for the trainee’s great work and contribution made on various projects. They have all also picked up pieces of a second language (Italian) from the trainee, which is a plus.

Would you recommend the intern/trainee program to other businesses?  If so, why? 

Yes, I would strongly recommend the intern/trainee program to other businesses. From my own business perspective, hosting an international trainee has really been a good and useful experience because of the contributions he brings on board and in addition to the hard work and commitment. More so, I am keenly aware that this is something all businesses should look at, to develop trainees and to aspire to have a global outreach. The trainee is very appreciative of the opportunity, extremely enthusiastic, and provides new insight.

If you had to use just 3 words to describe having an international intern/trainee working with you, what would you say? 

Diversity, innovative, and productive


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About Rebecca Pasini

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchange

Rebecca Pasini

Rebecca A. Pasini joined the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Private Sector Exchanges in July 2023. A career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister - Counselor, Ms. Pasini has been an American diplomat since 1997.

Ms. Pasini previously served as the Director of Public and Congressional Affairs in the Bureau of Consular Affairs from 2021-2023. Other Washington assignments have included positions in the Bureau of Consular Affairs, the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, the Office of Foreign Missions, and as a liaison to the Department of Homeland Security. She has also completed multiple overseas tours, including as Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs in Islamabad, Pakistan, and as the Consular Chief in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Belfast, Northern Ireland. Other tours included Mexico City and Kuwait.

A Maryland native, Ms. Pasini has a Ph.D. in Political Science from Indiana University, a master’s degree in National Security and Resource Strategy from the Eisenhower School, National Defense University, and an undergraduate degree from Mary Washington College.