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Ryanne Spann ’10

Research Technician II, Brandeis University

Pine Manor College, Biology Major

Lynn English High School, Lynn, MA

Genetic Counseling, or Project Manager in a biotechnology company

Life After Graduation

“When I graduated from Pine Manor, I was accepted into an intensive 10-week research internship program at the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Science. This was part of the Building Diversity in the Biomedical Sciences (BDBS) program at Tufts University. This experience taught me how interested I was in research. After the internship, I didn’t know if I wanted to apply to graduate/masters programs, or apply for jobs that would allow me to use my BA in Biology and gain more hands-on experience. I continued to waitress while I gave this some thought. I took a physics course during this time so that once I did begin applying, it would not appear that I had been idle. I eventually decided on a job related to scientific research. I specifically looked for posts that advertised “willing to train” and “no experience needed”. That is how I came to work at Brandeis University.
I am currently working as a research technician in the lab of Michael Rosbash at Brandeis University. This is a circadian rhythm lab that works with the D. melanogaster (fruit fly) model organism. I started as a lab technician, not a research technician,working in the preparation area. I prepared various reagents and buffers for postdoctoral fellows and graduate students in our lab. I was promoted from the prep area to bench work, where I now participate in the actual research. I was assigned a postdoctoral fellow to mentor me. We worked together on an aging and sleep project. We are preparing a paper on our research and hope to have it accepted for publication in a scientific journal this fall. I was recently promoted to a Research Technician II, which comes with more responsibility and independence.
As a staff member at Brandeis, I am able to take a course per semester for free. I have taken two graduate level courses so far Molecular Biology and Human Genetics. I am now planning to apply to a Master’s program. I am uncertain about my specific path, but genetic counseling is a huge interest. In the next 5 years, my goal is to have attained at least my Master’s Degree. I am beginning to narrow my focus to genetic counseling or project management at a biotech company.”

How PMC Helped Me

“I became interested in Pine Manor because I had a friend who was attending the school at the time. She spoke highly of the college. Also, Pine Manor offered me the best financial aid package. I am happy I made the decision to attend. While the entire faculty was pleasant, I quickly noticed that the instructors of my scientific courses were very enthusiastic about working in the field. They made molecular and biochemical interactions sound so exciting. I had always found science exciting, however, I hadn’t met anyone who was thoroughly enthusiastic until I met my PMC Biology professors. The class sizes were also small, which allowed a more personal interaction with professors. These interactions were extremely valuable as they gave me chances to reflect on my classroom performance and critical thinking. I always felt comfortable using office hours to go over what wasn’t clear to me in class. The professors took as much time as needed to make sure I understood a specific concept.

In taking courses outside of my major, I was able to explore other interests. It was nice being able to balance my core classes with other classes of interest. If I had spent the past two hours practicing calculations, having a drawing assignment was a good change of effort and interest. African American History and Sociology were areas I enjoyed exploring while attending Pine Manor. The liberal arts foundation at Pine Manor has allowed me to appreciate conversations with people outside of my area of interest. In speaking to people working in different scientific areas, instead of just my own more narrow scientific interests or experience, I have been receptive to a broader spectrum of career options that seem suitable for me. The liberal arts focus has also made me more conscious and compassionate when dealing with difficult personalities.”