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From Books to Bench: Gateway to the Dream

Shirley St. Aubin (right) and Melissa Mahiouz (left), second-year students in the Biotechnology Program at Roxbury Community College, are shown at the Merkert Chemistry Center, where they are obtaining hands-on lab experience that will count toward their associate in science degrees. Professors Jianmin Gao and Mary Roberts have welcomed Shirley and Melissa into their labs and assigned them to research projects. In the Gao lab, Shirley works on transmembrane protein synthesis and characterization, and, in the Roberts lab, Melissa works on expression and purification of a mammalian phospholipase domain.

The Associate in Science degree program in Biotechnology at Roxbury Community College enables students to obtain a broad-based science background focusing on courses in the life and chemical sciences. Through external collaborations – such as those in the Gao and Roberts labs at Boston College, students develop laboratory skills applicable to procedures commonly performed in research hospital and research industrial laboratories all over the United States.

Moreover, Roxbury Community College encourages its students to pursue their dream careers. For Shirley and Melissa, that might be working with physicians who conduct clinical research. Professors Gao and Roberts are helping to transform dream careers into reality by providing the teaching lab setting where classroom learning is translated into experiential learning at the bench. Professors Gao and Roberts are forging that important link for Shirley and Melissa in real time.

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