UNM Rainforest Innovations

Kiera Hanley photoUNM Rainforest Innovations hires student interns each semester to assist in supporting technology transfer and catalyzing economic development at the University of New Mexico. The internship program, which has now trained over a hundred students from across campus, teaches students excellent professional skills and a better understanding of the intersection of business, science, and law.

Our featured intern this month is Kiera Hanley. She joined UNM Rainforest Innovations in February 2022 and currently serves as an Innovation Student Intern. “Some of my responsibilities include creating spreadsheets with companies pertaining to a certain field of technologies in hopes they are interested in getting involved with and/or manufacturing the invention at hand. Additionally, I perform novelty searches on technologies that have recently been sent to UNMRI. I also write up NCS’s for new inventions, which basically provide a summary of the technology and a background on related technologies already invented.”

When asked what she enjoyed most about her position and what was the most valuable thing she has learned, she said, “My job allows me to work at my own pace when completing an assignment. I, of course, have deadlines for these assignments, but if I ever become too overwhelmed with one, I typically have another I can move onto. Additionally, Hannah (Russert) is a very understanding and compassionate boss who allows for extensions if necessary.”

“The most valuable thing I have learned as a student intern at UNMRI is time management with the variety of different assignments sent to me.  When writing an NCS, the background section must include information from related technologies or methods to the newly invented.  From writing these up, I don’t only learn about the new technology at hand, but also a better understanding for the field in which it belongs to.”

Kiera was born and raised in Albuquerque by her mother and grandparents and attended the Public Academy for Performing Arts, a small charter school. When she isn’t busy with work or school, she enjoys spending time outdoors. “Most of my hobbies include taking time to enjoy the outdoors, such as running, hiking, and most of all skiing. I also love rock climbing, reading, and planning my next solo trip!”

Kiera joined the University of New Mexico in 2019 and originally planned to study nursing. “Soon into the semester, I changed my major to biology and have been happy with my decision ever since.” Kiera is currently working on her bachelor’s in biology with a minor in sustainability studies and plans to graduate in May.

As for what’s next, she has a few ideas in mind. “I am very excited to be applying to some positions in the Peace Corps which will be departing early next year.  After my return, I am hoping to have a better understanding of my long-term career goals, whether it involves being a wildlife biologist, working in a lab as a research assistant, or something completely new and different.”

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