Name: Alexander Bonano
Class Year: 2017
Major: Latin American & Latino Studies
Minor: Global Health Studies
Shadowing Visit Site: Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Describe your visit and what did you gain from the experience?
My visit to Vertex was definitely one of the best experiences I had and I am glad to have it had it as my first job shadowing experience through the College of the Holy Cross. As a student who took science courses, I felt completely at home. The entire building is decorated with a chemical theme; the walls had organic chemistry reactions on the walls, the couches had a periodic element pillows, and each floor of the building was a different “element.” Also, refreshments were served while I was waiting to be seen, which definitely made me feel welcomed. During my time at Vertex, I sat on three different meetings and I began to see what the Legal Counsel does and through this, I was able to understand the roles of the other departments of Vertex as well. From there, we had lunch and on Wednesdays they have an Indian vendor come. Sidenote, I love Indian food so my day was definitely made. At lunch, I spoke with my alumni’s co-workers and learned more about them and their experience working at Vertex. The conversation soon shifted into a semi-debate about knowing what is that one wants to pursue and if it is essential to always plan ahead and have concrete agendas. I really enjoyed conversing on this topic, as they all gave me really good advice on keeping an open mind, and not limiting myself from potential opportunities. I then got a full tour of the building, and learned about the learning center that BPS (Boston Public Schools) utilizes for their science courses as a new initiative to incite more interest in the sciences. After that, it was time to return home and my host offered me a ride since she drives my way. All in all, it was an amazing experience and I am glad I did experienced it.
How did this experience influence or connect to your future career plans/goals?
The experience allowed me to see that the Public/Global Health realm is super multifaceted and therefore allows one to hold a myriad of different positions and still contribute to the field. For example, my alumni host is a lawyer but the work that she does benefits the health of the patients who buy and take the medications produced by the company. So with that being said, it allowed to me to open myself more to the possibilities of different opportunities that could come my way. In thinking of graduate school, programs, I have found more interesting and unique programs that are not necessarily the “essential” degrees in Public/Global Health.
What is some helpful advice your alumni host shared with you?
After the conversation at lunch, she pulled me aside and made it quite clear that I do not need to know what I want to do before graduating. She gave her example of working first, and then realizing that she wanted to be a lawyer. So with that being said, she wanted me to know that there is no race to get to the career that is meant for me. Just keep being open and taking opportunities and eventually I’ll get there. To end, I’ll offer this quote “focus on the roots and not the fruits.”
Why would you recommend the Alumni Job Shadowing Program to other students?
Definitely! It was an awesome experience and was helpful in reinforcing the career path that I’ve chosen.