As a Sales and Marketing Associate for EpiVax, a Providence, RI-based biotechnology company, Kathleen Gonzalez ’18 is excited to be part of a rapidly evolving field. “There will always be a need for new research as new discoveries are made,” she says. “I’m glad I’m a part of that.”
Gonzalez connects the company with customers and clients. She helps communicate to a general audience the high-level scientific work at EpiVax, assists with coordination of meetings, presentations, and conferences, and manages the company’s social media.
She’s thrilled to be able to learn from the scientists on the EpiVax staff. “I’m learning so much from their experience and they’ve been so welcoming,” she says. “I also like the fact that EpiVax is working on creating products that help people.”
Skills and confidence
Gonzalez built much of her own scientific knowledge-base in Bryant biology classes and in the lab of Professor Chris Reid, Ph.D., where she conducted antibiotic research funded by RI-INBRE. “What I really loved about Bryant’s biology program is how personalized it is and how you’re able to build a one-on-one connection with the faculty,” she says. “They really want to see students be as successful as they can be, even after graduation. I think that is what makes our program so special.”
“When you leave Bryant, you're not the same person as when you started. You grow so much as a leader, and you build character. To me, that’s the embodiment of the college experience."
Presenting at conferences, including the annual Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship event, taught Gonzalez how to convey scientific findings. “It helps you build your communication skills,” she says, “and your ability to discuss your work, even with people who may not be all that familiar with your field.”
In addition to her science acumen, Gonzalez is aided in her work by her business administration minor, which gave her an understanding of a wide variety of subjects from accounting to management to information systems. “It's really important for everyone in any field to have some knowledge of business,” she says. “No matter what organization you’re part of or what field you’re in, there are always going to be business matters involved.”
Prepared to excel
Gonzalez says that Bryant’s integrated curriculum, along with opportunities like studying abroad in France, positioned her perfectly for her job at EpiVax. “They were looking for someone with a science background and preferably a business background as well. I read that and thought to myself, ‘well, I have both of those.’ Then, in the desired requirements, it stated that candidates who knew a foreign language and had an international experience were encouraged to apply. I realized, ‘I’ve done all of that at Bryant.’”
She’s also glad for the developmental opportunities the University offered her, including the 4MILE Cultural and Leadership program, the University’s Multicultural Student Union, and the MyPath mentoring program. “When you leave Bryant, you're not the same person as when you started,” says Gonzalez, the 2018 recipient of Bryant’s Black and Gold Award, which recognizes students who exemplify Bryant University school spirit. “You grow so much as a leader, and you build character. To me, that’s the embodiment of the college experience.”