Lab Science was the Perfect Fit for this Grad
On Saturday, May 19, Elizabeth Giroux will graduate from Northern Essex Community College with an associate degree in lab science and likely a new job in the growing field of medical marijuana.
Giroux has always been a good student—she has straight A’s—but, after high school, it took a couple of years for her to find the right college.
A 2013 graduate of Pinkerton Academy, she started at a four-year college close to home and then transferred to a four-year university, where she lived on campus, discovering after only one semester that she didn’t like being away.
A friend encouraged her to give Northern Essex a try, and she bundled all of her prior college credits and earned an associate degree in general studies in 2015.
When she found her post-college job in health club sales wasn’t fulfilling her, she made another visit to Northern Essex, connecting with an advisor, who steered her toward the lab science program after learning about her interest in science.
“I’ve liked science ever since middle school when we learned about plants and how they can be crossbred,” says Giroux. “And the idea of working independently in a lab sounded like something I would enjoy.”
The lab science program requires an internship and after posting her resume on the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center Internship Challenge, a site that features students looking for internship opportunities, Giroux was contacted by MCR Labs in Framingham, MA. She started in March and indications are that she will be hired by the company after her internship is over in June.
In her job, Giroux analyzes products to determine their chemical properties, such as levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or Cannabidiol (CBD). The company’s clients include registered marijuana dispensaries, patients, doctors, and caregivers.
“I like that I have a job helping people,” she says. It’s important for them to know what’s in the product they’re putting in their body.”
Giroux’s associate degree in lab science will transfer seamlessly into a bachelor’s in clinical lab sciences at UMass Lowell, but she wants to focus on gaining some experience before pursuing higher education.
“If I have a fulltime job after graduation, it’s a big accomplishment,” she says.
Northern Essex’s lab science program is a two-year program that leads to a job as an entry-level laboratory technician and/or transfer to a four-year university. The program covers Biotechnology, Analytical Chemistry, and Environmental Science.
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