margot lee

Margot Lee ’15: College Student One Day, Biotech Professional the Next

Three days after graduating from Gordon, Margot Lee ’15 began her biotechnology career in the Boston office of a multinational healthcare company. She’s now one of the youngest research associates at Siemens Healthcare.

Of her fast job placement, Lee says, “It’s about being assertive and proving you’re qualified.” That same eager attitude marked her Gordon experience as well.

As a student, Lee made a point to extend her learning outside the classroom and into the wider world of science by spending time with faculty and other professionals in the biology and biotechnology fields, including a long-term research project with expert plant biotechnologist Dr. Ming Zheng.

Lee assisted Dr. Zheng with research on accelerating crop breeding using plants produced from immature pollen, a process that helps crop breeders in developing countries develop new cultivars and produce food more efficiently. Dr. Zheng says that her work in monitoring cell divisions and development leading into plants was integral to his research.

“When you graduate and are looking for a job, employers look at how you perform as a person, and what kind of person you are—your character, your quality, whether or not you can get things done,” Dr. Zheng said.

The experience she gained under Dr. Zheng’s tutelage was vital to the future of her career, Lee says. She recalled one scientist who commented, “Wow, it speaks volumes that you were in the same lab doing research with the same professor for so long. It shows your commitment to the project.”

Lee also traveled to Belize as part of a course taught by Biology Department Chair Greg Keller, worked in the campus greenhouse with Assistant Professor of Biology Jennifer Noseworthy and took a course on business and biotechnology at Endicott College through the North Shore Biotechnology Consortium, a collaborative network established by Endicott, Gordon, North Shore Community College, North Shore InnoVentures and Salem State University.

Through these experiences, Lee says her professors became mentors and invested in more than her classroom success. “I’ll never forget when Dr. Zheng called me into his office one afternoon and asked me to sit down,” she said. “I was a teaching assistant for him at the time and thought maybe he had some work for me to grade, but instead he told me he had been praying for me and that he believed in me. I’m pretty sure I left his office teary-eyed.”

But Lee received more than emotional support from her mentor. Additional research for her biology lab courses helped her gain experience in microscopy, chemical analysis and medium preparation.

As this young scientist enters her field, she says, “Passion and skill are the two things that I think are needed to succeed in this industry. I have the passion and Gordon provided me with the skills.”

By Dan Simonds ’17, communication arts