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NIIMBL eXperience Program Announces 17 Students for 2021 Cohort

CORRECTION 4/22/2021: Update to students’ names and associated institutions.

Newark, Del., April 20, 2021 – The National Institute for Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL) announced 17 students selected for their 2021 NIIMBL eXperience Program. The NIIMBL eXperience is offered to African American/Black, Latinx, and Native American college freshman and sophomores students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and NIIMBL member institutions and provides real-world insight into career options in the growing biopharmaceutical industry.


“This year we are happy to welcome a group of students from schools ranging from Morehouse College to MIT. Each cohort is extremely unique. The students come from different backgrounds and majors, however being able to inform them of the endless opportunities in the biopharmaceutical industry significantly broadens their scope of possibilities for their field of study,” says Kathie Young, Workforce Coordinator, NIIMBL.


During the 2-week virtual program held from June 14-25, 2021, students will learn about the operations of large biomanufacturers, cutting-edge technologies of small companies, training and education paths from academic institutions, and how the federal government plays a role in bringing life-saving treatments to patients. The program launched in the summer of 2019 and has offered this unique glimpse into the biopharmaceutical industry to over 35 students.


“A key part of NIIMBL’s evolving workforce development strategy focuses on ensuring that the biopharmaceutical manufacturing ecosystem has access to an increasingly diverse and robust supply of talent,” shared John Balchunas, Workforce Director, NIIMBL. Balchunas adds, “I am excited that our eXperience program is able to help get us closer to diversifying the workplace by opening the door of possibilities into the biopharma industry for college students.”


2021 NIIMBL eXperience Cohort

Chiamaka Akparu, Texas A&M University

Nia Allen, Delaware State University

Jamelia Ancel, University of the District of Columbia

Charles Coleman, Morehouse College

Kingsolomon Ehinola, Lincoln University of Pennsylvania

Maria Esteller, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Ashley-Kaye Fonkeng, University of Georgia

Rithu Latha Rajendran, University of Delaware

Sydney McCoy, University of Georgia

Uchechi Nworah, Mississippi Valley State University

Divine Ogugua, Edward Waters College

Jhanjaneth Perea, Texas A&M University

Isabella Salinas, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Jada Smith, Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Tamia Sumter, Clemson University

Brittney Thompson, Talladega

Lauren Weaver, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor


To learn more about the NIIMBL eXperience, visit



The National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL) is a public-private partnership whose mission is to accelerate biopharmaceutical innovation, support the development of standards that enable more efficient and rapid manufacturing capabilities, and educate and train a world-leading biopharmaceutical manufacturing workforce, fundamentally advancing U.S. competitiveness in this industry. NIIMBL is part of Manufacturing USA®, a diverse network of federally-sponsored manufacturing innovation institutes, and is funded through a cooperative agreement with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the U.S. Department of Commerce with significant additional support from its members.



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Maria X. Chacon

Director of Marketing and Communications


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