My STEM journey began in high school when I took a bioengineering class, sparking my interest in the field. This led me choosing to major in Biomedical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). WPI's project-based learning approach deepened my interest and provided valuable hands-on experience for future roles. During the summer of my freshman year, I joined an academic research lab focused on in-vitro disease modeling, led by Dr. Catherine Whittington.
Dr. Whittington was an amazing mentor to me in STEM. She mentored me in planning and conducting experiments, provided me with numerous opportunities to present my research and offered career advice. I researched in Dr. Whittington’s lab for the remainder of my time at WPI, which solidified my passion for my major and research. As I explored future career opportunities, biopharma stood out as my top choice.
Following my junior year at WPI, I interned at BMS Cambridge in Translational Medicine. I chose this internship because of BMS’s mission, values, and disease areas of focus. BMS also offers excellent early career programs, and the internship aligned with my interests and experiences. BMS was a great place to develop professionally in biopharma, while impacting patients’ lives. As a Translational Medicine intern, I gained a deeper understanding of the R&D pipeline and conducted in-vitro chemotherapy studies on human cell lines to assess novel cancer mechanisms. I learned valuable lab and analytical skills from my colleagues and project at BMS. The internship also offered helpful career development and networking opportunities. My positive internship experience drew me back to BMS when searching for full-time positions.
During my internship, I learned more about the KickStart Rotational Program (KSRP) at BMS Devens. KSRP is a full-time position where participants rotate through three job functions over two years, building a cross-functional skill set in biotech/biopharma through hands-on experience. KSRP has been a fantastic opportunity to gain diverse industry experience and discover long-term interests.
Since I started at BMS Devens, the day-to-day has looked different every eight months as I rotate through different roles. In my first rotation in Biologics Process Analytics, I performed analytical assays assessing Process Development samples and working on assay optimization and development. My second rotation was in Cell Therapy Manufacturing, where I had a direct impact on the products we deliver to patients as I executed process unit operations for a core BMS product, gaining experience in Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) system operation and process improvement initiatives. In my final rotation in Field Quality Assurance for Biologics Commercial Manufacturing, I provide on-call floor support for manufacturing and ensure compliance with GMP regulations and industry guidelines. KSRP has exposed me to new areas of biopharma and has been a continuous learning experience. As I explore post-program opportunities within BMS, I am grateful for the skills, network, mentors, and development provided by this program.
As a woman in STEM, my mentors, colleagues, and experiences have helped me grow professionally and understand the importance of diversity in STEM. Diverse opinions and backgrounds drive innovation, which is crucial for developing life-saving medicines. Understanding diverse patient populations is also essential for better treatments. Incorporating diversity in STEM now will pave the way for future diversity and innovation. My time in STEM, especially at BMS, has taught me to pursue my passions, voice my opinions, and learn from the different individuals around you. Looking ahead, I hope to become more experienced in biopharma and eventually pursue leadership roles.