ISPE: Making the Most of Biotech in Boston

female student in red dress smiling outside in front of trees and building

Written by Gabrielle Rabadam, a third year Chemical Engineering student.

About me

Gabrielle Rabadam is a 3rd year Chemical Engineering student pursuing a minor in English. Beginning her research career in high school at the University of Arizona, she has since channeled that passion into independent research on localized drug delivery devices and taken full advantage of Northeastern’s research grants, national conference funding, and mentorship programming. On campus, Gabrielle is actively involved in several STEM education outreach programs including Science Club for Girls and Gique, a Boston-based STEM+Arts initiative. This year, she took on the role of President of Northeastern’s chapter of ISPE. Gabrielle is currently on co-op at Ocular Therapeutix, working on their hydrogel protein delivery platform for the treatment of macular degeneration. When she’s not hidden away in a lab or running around campus for ISPE, SCFG, or Gique, she can be found running around Boston training for various long distance races.

ISPE: Making the Most of Biotech in Boston

Of all the engineering student organizations on campus, International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineers stood out to me primarily because it focuses on a specific subdiscipline of chemical and bioengineering. I found this niche emphasis to be particularly helpful when I was attempting to identify where I want to take my career in the sometimes frustratingly broad field of chemical engineering. By exposing me to career panels specific to the pharmaceutical industry, tailored employer visits, and similarly like-minded students, ISPE has allowed me to confidently select co-ops within that field.

It is my hope that ISPE can continue to inspire more students to pursue a career within pharma by serving as a source of information, professional development, and mentorship. Last semester, we’ve been fortunate enough to host a number of well attended professional events like our Bristol Myers Squibb employer visit–where hiring managers were screening for both co-op and post-grad positions. Additionally, our career panel hosted in collaboration with SASE and NU Bio included engineers and scientists from companies such as Takeda, Genzyme, and Rubius Therapeutics. On the academic side of research, we curated a lab tour series where students had the privilege of interacting with professors and grad students in labs that were specifically looking for undergrads.

Beyond our career-oriented events, we also participate in outreach events on campus as a way to both stay involved in the Boston community and engage the public in STEM education. Last week, ISPE E-Board member and fellow SCFG mentor Victoria D’Agostino and I ran a DNA extraction demo at Show Me the Science, a science activity fair sponsored by Northeastern’s chapter of SCFG. While running a tabletop science demo for two hours straight was definitely tiring, the excitement and inquisitiveness of the kids emphasized the importance of keeping doors to the pharmaceutical industry, and science in general, open to everyone.

Our chapter of ISPE is lucky enough to be based in Boston, one of the top biotech hubs in the country. It’s our goal to help interested students get as much as they can from this unique microcosm whether it be through networking opportunities or through advice from fellow students with a variety of backgrounds and experiences. If you’d like to get involved, feel free to email or follow us on Facebook. Our events are open to everyone, regardless of major. Hope to see you soon!

Related Departments:Bioengineering, Chemical Engineering