Earlier this month, high school students from around the Commonwealth visited nine of the largest life sciences organizations in the state as part of MassBioEd's Career Exploration Days. Participating companies provided facility tours and in-lab demonstrations, offering students first-hand knowledge into the kinds of activities and responsibilities employees engage in on a daily basis.
The life sciences industry in Massachusetts continues to grow and innovate, which is leading to some amazing breakthroughs for patients, but is also creating challenges with regard to finding and hiring qualified talent. That's why it's so critical to help students make connections between what they’re learning in science class and future career opportunities in the industry. Creating this excitement early on is key, as many of the students who participated in Career Exploration Days are just starting to think about where they’d like to go to college and what they’re interested in studying.
We asked participating companies what they thought about hosting the students. Here’s what they had to say:
“This is always one of the best days of the year at AstraZeneca. The students are so engaged and eager to hear from some of our brightest scientists and learn what it is like to discover the life-changing medicines of the future. The students from Chelmsford High School represented themselves extremely well and competed intensely in the team Jeopardy challenge at the end of their day.”
– David Reif, Associate Director of Cancer Research, AstraZeneca
“Brammer Bio was excited to welcome students from Boston Charter Prep to our Cambridge facility on Career Exploration Day. The students and educators were highly engaged and asked insightful questions about gene therapy and biopharma career paths. Our staff were excited to describe their role in manufacturing these complex, transforming medicines, and share their personal stories on establishing their career in biotech. It was a synergistic and energizing event and we look forward to participating again next year.”
– Chris Murphy, Chief Manufacturing Officer, Brammer Bio
“Last week’s Career Exploration Day at Sanofi Allston Landing was a success from the moment the New Mission H.S. students got off the bus to the end. Students were able to interact with subject matter experts from different technical functions of the organization, Allston’s Head of Quality, and the Site Head. They got to see some working areas including the Validation Lab, Metrology Lab, Quality Control Laboratories, and the Manufacturing Bioreactor area. They asked some great questions. I think the visit was eye opening for them; to see the power of science in action, for such a meaningful mission, hopefully helped them to think more passionately about their professional paths.”
– Lauren Shamitz-Crooks, Principal Training Specialist, Instructional Designer, Sanofi Genzyme
“We loved having the Revere High School students come to Takeda for Career Exploration Day. It was an interactive and engaging day, and our employees greatly enjoyed being able to discuss their careers with students interested in the life sciences fields. We wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors.”
– Ryan Wade, Associate Director, Internal Communications, Oncology Business Unit, Takeda
Career Exploration Days are a component of MassBioEd’s BioTeach program, which provides lab-based training in biotechnology to 150 public high school science teachers each year, along with funds to public schools for lab supplies and equipment.
To learn more about the industry's latest challenges and opportunities regarding workforce, register for MassBioEd’s Life Sciences Workforce 2018: 3rd Annual Massachusetts Conference, hosted at Northeastern University on Friday, May 18th.