Three dynamic women who have staked out successful careers in the biotechnology industry will inspire your female students to explore new career pathways.
Female role models help get this career on the radar of women and girls because they’re able to see someone who looks like them on the job. The video reveals the personal experiences and insights of successful women working in this field.
Biotechnology and related industries employ millions of people. Increasing numbers of women are establishing rewarding careers in the traditionally male-dominated biotechnology field.
Career Options for Women -- Biotechnology:
This 24-minute video features profiles of three women with successful careers in biotechnology:
- Allison Ross, a chemist and research technician who analyzes test samples at a busy lab
- Sylvie Bilodeau-Goeseels, a research scientist tasked with improving cow fertility
- Dia Matheos, Vice President of Research and Development at a biotech firm
Additional information from co-workers and supervisors supplements each job profile.
Meet the role models featured in the Biotechnology video:
Allison: Chemist and Research Technician
In the medical and biotechnology field, analyzing patient samples quickly and accurately - not to mention cost effectively - is critical. Testing software developed for this purpose is a key ingredient of Allison Ross's job as chemist and research assistant for Chenomx Inc. Chenomx designs software, mainly for biotechnology companies in the human health sector.
During university, Allison sampled professional science as an intern for the petroleum industry. Turns out it was the right "chemistry" for a full-time job in biotechnology. The experience she is now getting at Chenomx, integrating health science with software programming, is a great step forward in career growth.
Biotechnology is a challenging field. You need to be hard-working, eager to learn and intellectually curious in order to understand and apply the concepts of science. “I've always enjoyed chemistry. It was my favorite subject in high school, along with the other sciences. I always knew I wanted to do sciences.”
Allison has a number of responsibilities at Chenomx. She looks after the safety of the lab, updates safety references, tests the software, works with the development team to create a database of elements, assists in chemistry research and more.
In chemistry, not only do you need to understand formulas, reactions, elements and their properties, you need the right tools to get the job done. Allison's work would be impossible to complete without the sophisticated array of equipment at her fingertips.
Sylvie: Research Scientist
Research scientist Sylvie Bilodeau-Goeseels works at the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Lethbridge Research Centre. Her on-the-job mission is to improve cow fertility and reduce the incidence of embryonic mortality through in vitro fertilization.
Embryonic mortality is one of the factors responsible for reproductive failure which causes major economic loss to beef producers. So far, there are no specific interventions designed to prevent embryonic mortality, other than good management practice. Little is known about numerous reasons for embryonic mortality and the molecular mechanisms responsible for the development of a fertilized egg.
The challenge researchers like Sylvie face today is to find out how embryos develop, what happens at all stages of development, what happens when embryos die, why they die and what can be done about it. “Sometimes you wonder for a long time: "How does this work?" And suddenly you have an answer. This is all very exciting.”
Along with scientific work, Sylvie's job includes business management. In a team of scientists, Sylvie comes up with new projects, proposes them to the government, secures funding, manages resources and publishes results in scientific journals.
Dia: Vice President of Research and Development
When Dia Matheos talks about getting some new genes, she's probably not talking about the kind you wear. Dia is a Vice President of research and development with the biotech firm, Replicor. She leads a team of people and works hands-on, creating DNA products. These are licensed by pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies for a variety of applications. In the long run, her work benefits patients and increases the cost effectiveness of treatment.
Dia has always been fascinated by sciences in the human health sector. After completing her BA in microbiology and gaining volunteer experience in this field, she was determined to pursue a PhD in biochemistry. She excelled in her doctoral thesis, the topic of which was very much in line with Replicor's research. Dia's professor, also a co-founder of Replicor, was impressed and the company hired Dia full-time.
Science is always evolving. It is difficult to predict what Dia will be doing in two weeks because her future tasks depend on the results she gets today. Her work is always different, which is one reason why Dia finds it so interesting. "What I enjoy most about my job is the fact that it never becomes routine. There's always some sort of excitement."
Run time: 24 minutes total, including three segments of approximately 8 minutes each.
Format: DVD. Closed-captioned.
Note: Videos are interspersed with Canadian salary and labor statistics, which are similar to the numbers in the United States.
Policies: There is a no-return policy on these videos.
Grade level: Middle School, High School, Two-Year College, Four-Year University