Written by Scott Heimlich, Vice President, Amgen Foundation
Can you imagine the implications to the country and society if we were better able to harness and unleash the talent all around us? What if opportunity and culture unlocked the ambition and dreams of more people – young and old – to achieve their potential? We’re barely scratching the surface.
The path from Amgen Scholars to working at a major pharmaceutical company has been anything but linear for Jan Botthof. Between his undergraduate work, PhD program, and now as a trainee in the International Future Leadership Program for Product Supply at Bayer, Botthof has taken time to try different roles and figure out the best balance of science in his career. Through his journey, Botthof has learned that many career options are available to those with science skills that go beyond traditional benchwork.
This question is so fundamental, and yet too often it’s not even asked by those funding and working towards social impact.
We assume it was asked and answered by someone else at some earlier time, or that this initiative with its holistic approach to the whole person can’t be reduced to a single or even set of metrics. Or maybe it’s that we simply don’t have the time and resources to build that data-driven culture that allows us to adjust our strategy and actions based on whether our indicators of success are flashing green or red.
The science community really is a small world. Nick Watkins and Rocío Mercado met years ago in chemistry lab at at the University of California, Berkeley. Mercado mentored Watkins when she was a graduate student instructor and he was a second semester undergrad. While they have remained in close contact since, it wasn’t until they were contacted for this story that they realized they shared something in common: They are both Amgen Scholars who participated in the program at Caltech, years apart.
For Saira Sakalaš, learning she was selected as an Amgen Scholar last year was the beginning of a new chapter in her life. She says she will never forget the moment she got an email from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden offering her the fellowship.
ASP: Can you tell me a little bit about your research as an Amgen Scholar?
Loving: During my time as an Amgen Scholar at the UC Berkeley, I have been working with Priya Moorjani’s lab, which focuses on evolutionary biology and population genetics. I have been developing and implementing a pipeline for reliably estimating the germline mutation rate in primates.
Ask Ivan Simpson-Kent who his early idols were and he would give a surprising response: criminals. This is despite growing up in a dangerous neighborhood in West Philadelphia, where he lived across from drug dealers, often heard gunshots at night, and nearly daily stories of people, mostly youth, getting murdered. “I perceived these criminals as invincible outlaws going against the limits society had placed upon them,” he says.