Can you tell us about yourself?
Yes. I graduated from UConn 2020 Biology and came back from deployment in 2022. Now I’m working at Alexion.
What was the experience like at UConn?
I’ll say it was a little difficult to transition from a public school to a public research institution like UConn. A lot of asking for help, going to professors or TAs after hours, and setting up a time because sometimes I didn’t understand the subject matter. And I tried to do my best to get to understand it. So for the exam, so it’ll be easier.
How has New Haven promise helped you through your college career?
I’ll say they helped me a lot. The majority was helping me through internships. I’d say for so far, throughout 2017 to 2020. So it helped me throughout internships and allowed me to apply for research jobs at UConn, and then it helped me get my job here and at Alexion.
Where did you intern? How were those internships?
The majority were in the Yale School of Environment. They were great. They gave me a different background. I analyzed water seeing how high phosphorus was to see how we can help different cities around the Farmington River and clean up all the chemicals from different parts of the river. We were trying to make sure it helped residents living there. A topic I never thought I would hear but it was pretty fun, was when went to all five boroughs in New York City collecting invasive jumping earthworms and soil to analyze them.
How was your journey getting to your first job?
It took over a year because once I graduated from UConn, I left New Haven for Fort Benning, Georgia to attend Infantry Basic Officer Leader Course (IBOLC). Then I completed the course in February. I got mobilized with my unit to Texas in March and then April I was already deployed.
What is your experience like at Alexion? And does this tie in with your major, UConn biology?
It’s a big eye-opener. The number of sciences and amount of data that we had to collect before we start a product. The amount of reading, so a lot of peer review essays and going through a lot of SOPs or “standard operation procedures” to understand how to start before we’re doing so like right now we’re starting our harvest and getting all the chemicals. It took two to three weeks before we could start so it’s a lot of patience and a lot of adjusting.
Somewhat it encompasses everything. I used Excel and different software like R. it’s not directly what I majored in, but it encompasses what I learned at UConn.
What was your favorite thing at UConn and in New Haven?
My favorite thing was going to the union. That was my best part. going there to just study or to work with my friends majority. My friends were just military guys and we would just hang out there and just relax. Obviously, pizza is the best thing (Modern). You can always tell that to every person and they will come down and try the pizza.
What advice would you give to other scholars?
The advice that I would give to them is to be very proactive. You got the opportunity to go to school for free. Not entirely. But if you did have the opportunity to go for full ride, take advantage of it. Use all the benefits of New Haven with internships and also go to professors all the time and ask for help, no matter what happens because, at the end of the day, when you go to these 3000 level 4000 Level classes, it’s not a joke. They are always there, ask for help and they’ll help you a lot.