Amgen Scientists Visit CRLS to Discuss Careers in Biotech


Photo Courtesy of Allan Gehant

Pictured: Amgen panelists speaking at the Cambridge Public Library’s main branch.

Azusa Lippit, Around School Editor

On Thursday, February 27th, a biotechnology company named Amgen held a panel for CRLS students at the Cambridge Public Library. Amgen, which has an office in Kendall Square, has built a worldwide name for itself by taking a biological approach to solving problems in the medical world. In commemoration of Black History Month, Amgen reached out to CRLS Dean of Science Allan Gehant. This outreach was aimed at fostering interest in science careers among students of color at local high schools.

The panel mainly served to show students the specifics of the biotech field. Many students who attended were already interested in biotech and asked several questions about the process for designing drugs. “I think I learned a lot about the whole process of how medications go to market, from conception through design, production, and testing,” commented Raleigh Berman ’22. The panelists informed the students that it can take as many as ten years—or longer—for a certain drug to be developed and on the market, and that the FDA approval process can last as long as a year itself. 

 A major component of the event was the panelists sharing the paths that led them to the biotech industry. Tiber Dalton ’22 explained their takeaways from the panel: “I’m taking biotech this year, and they made some interesting points about not needing to attend an Ivy League college to have a successful career.” While the majority of the panelists majored in either biology or chemistry, many had less traditional educational paths. They accentuated the idea that they could make the most of any college education and still find themselves involved in a high-level profession that could be saving lives.

Mr. Sunny Gupta explained why he chose to bring his AP Chemistry class to the panel, stating, “Cambridge being the global biotech hub that it is, especially with new companies coming in and the way that the biotech cluster is organized and will be organized in the future, the opportunities for biotech jobs in Cambridge are exponentially increasing.” 

The panelists demonstrated a clear sense of community, whether they worked in research and development or relations with larger marketing sources. “It was interesting to see how collaborative everyone is and how one person’s job is very specific, and [how] the output they produce goes to the next person and they can make something new with it,” stated Jen Cooper ’22. This collaboration, as well as the joyful tone with which the participants spoke about their work, was what attracted the attention of many students at the event. One question from the audience in particular (“Did you party in college?”) even provoked a response about how fun the work environment is, with panelists saying that there are parties at the Amgen office all the time.