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Rewarding Careers Await STCC’s Biotechnology Graduates
hen she was a student at Springfield high-school graduates to individuals changing discuss your problems and questions.”
Technical Community College careers. A federally designated Hispanic-Serving The biotech program at STCC in 2018 earned a (STCC), Talia Sherbo was not sure Institution, STCC is composed of a diverse student Gold Level endorsement from the Massachusetts
what to study. She had tried different majors, from body and encourages students of color to pursue Biotechnology Education Foundation. MassBioTech
 general studies to biology, but couldn’t find the right fit.
“My advisor, Professor Lisa Rapp, said, ‘what about my program, biotechnology?’” Sherbo said. “I never heard of it before, but she told me all about it. I enrolled and never regretted that decision.”
Today, Sherbo serves as an adjunct professor at Bay Path University, where she teaches laboratories for chemistry and forensic chemistry.
Sherbo found her passion as a STEM teacher, thanks in part to the biotechnology program, one
of several science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields of study offered at STCC, the only technical community college in Massachusetts. Other students who went through the biotechnology program at STCC took different career pathways and say they are grateful to Rapp and her program for inspiring them.
Over the years, Rapp has taught biotechnology to a diverse group of students at STCC, from recent
degrees in STEM fields such as biotechnology. “Some students transfer to a four-year college or
university and pursue a more advanced degree. Oth- ers apply for jobs right after getting their associate degree from STCC,” Rapp said. “What’s exciting about our program is that it leads to opportuni-
ties. There are many potential career paths. Our graduates find satisfying careers in industries such as pharmaceuticals, medical devices, agriculture, environmental technology, water purification, and basic biological research.”
Students who transfer to Westfield State Univer- sity can pursue a bachelor’s degree in biotechnology. They can receive credits from Westfield State for program-related courses completed at STCC.
“The faculty and professors were always there to help you succeed,” said Sundus Rehman, a STCC biotechnology program graduate. “You had one- on-one interaction with the professors. You could easily meet with the professors and talk to them and
concluded that graduates of the two-year degree pro- gram and one-year certificate program were ready for the life-sciences workforce.
Jeff Townsend works as a quality engineer for Bristol-Myers Squibb, a biotechnology company in Devens. His biotechnology degree at STCC served as
Please see STCC, page 33
 What’s exciting about our program is that it leads to opportunities.
There are many potential career paths.”
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