​​​​​​​​​​​A recent National Academies Press (NAP) report encouraged universities to provide students opportunities ​to "interact with STEM professionals and learn about employers and careers" and "to meet role models and mentors who look like the students." The report also pointed out the need "to facilitate connections between [faculty] and STEM professionals who wish to function as volunteer speakers and/or mentors.”​​  

The annual CSU Biotechnology Symposium is a working example of a “larger-scale, convening event” called for in the NAP report.  

CSUPERB designs the event each year to to broaden exposure to cutting-edge biotechnologies, product-focused innovation and the spectrum of career paths available in the life sciences. The 28th annual event January 5-7, 2016, at the Hyatt Regency Orange County brought together 630 stud​ents, faculty members, administrators, industry professionals, alumni and government officials​.
 
The symposium program showcases the high level of hands-on, project-based research and entrepreneurial projects the CSU’s students take on.  The 262 posters and 13 CSU I-Corps team presentations at the 28th annual event featured collaborative faculty-student research projects from 168 labs across the CSU, many of which are supported by the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation and Howard Hughes Medical Institute and other funding organizations. Interestingly 59 of the posters included authors from partnering institutions external to the CSU, highlighting the connections needed to advance biotechnology research.​ CSUPERB also made nine system-wide biotechnology awards​ to outstanding CSU students and faculty during the event.
 
The Friday morning plenary session at the January 2016 symposium featured talks from CSU alumni working in biotechnology: Luke Sophinos (CEO, CourseKey), Christina Waters (CEO, RARE Science​) and Willie Zuniga (President, Grifols Biologicals Inc.).  These alums have built biotechnology companies and organizations and continue to give back to the CSU.  Their stories provided sources of inspiration, support and perspective to the current students and faculty in attendance.​
 
The 29th Annual CSU Biotechnology Symposium will be held at the Santa Clara Marriott, January 5-7, 2017.