BCLA's 7th Annual STEM Student BioTech Summit


On Thursday, October 14th, 2021, BCLA and BioscienceLA co-hosted BCLA’s annual STEM Student BioTech Summit. This program was designed specifically for high school and early undergraduate students, who are interested in pursuing careers in biotech and STEM-related fields. This year’s STEM Student Summit featured a keynote speaker, two panels, and breakout sessions.

The Summit was kicked off by an introduction from Helen Motanis, Development Lead at BCLA. We were then honored to have Anna Skaya as our keynote speaker. Anna shared with us her journey as Founder and CEO of Basepaws, the first cat DNA testing company, from pitching on the show “Shark Tank” to building out her team in Los Angeles. Anna gave us an inspiring speech and emphasized the importance of seeking advisors when building a start-up. Cold emailing on LinkedIn is a great way to take initiative for networking.


The program was then followed by a Career Panel, composed of a group of brilliant panelists: Helen Vong (Vice President of Business Development at Scismic); Erin McKay (Scientific Outreach Specialist at Scismic) and Kate Sleeth (Founder at EduKatedSTEM). The panel discussed important perspectives in choosing and developing careers: 1) self-assessment or know about yourself; 2) network and learn about new opportunities; 3) ask for advice and be optimistic; 4) seek jobs that align with your value and passion.


At the same time, our second panel “Careers in STEM - Meet the Scientists at Thermo Fisher”, allowed the students to have a closer look at the daily life of a scientist. This panel was composed of Sarah McLeod (Director of Customer Experience); Angela Estany (Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs and Quality), Mickey Burg (Senior Manager of Project Management), Ngoc Ly (Director of Operations), Sandra Balladares (HLA Franchise Leader in Product Management) and Heather Ide (Senior Director of Sales). The panelists introduced their roles, responsibilities, and day-to-day work, depicting biotech professionals' work life for our students.


Following the panel discussions, the summit included a CV writing session with Helen Vong and Erin McKay from Scismic, as well as a “Meet & Greet'' breakout session with professionals from Thermo Fisher. Alongside these, attendees were able to attend info sessions with BCLA and Genedu.


If you missed our event, the recordings of the keynote speech and two panel discussions can be found here. We thank our speakers, audience members, sponsors, and especially our BCLA team members for this successful event. Until next time, stay safe and stay curious.


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