Each year prior to graduation, the Gloucester Biotechnology Academy staff selects a student to be awarded the Zhu-Millman Scholar Award. Presented to the student who best exemplifies excellence in leadership and academics while in the Academy program, this award is handed out on stage at the graduation ceremony at Cape Ann Museum.
Native Gloucester resident and Class of 2019 graduate Jordan Allen has been named the 2019 Zhu-Millman Scholar, and we sat down with him to hear what that honor, and his experience at the Academy, has meant to him.
You’re graduating this week – how does it feel?
It feels good. I’m a bit anxious, because it’s a
new experience for me. I never had a
graduation ceremony from high school, or walked across a stage, because I got
my GED instead. But I’m still very
Tell me a
little bit about what you were doing before the Academy, and what made you
apply to the program.
After high school, I worked doing carpentry for about 6 years. I liked it, but I longed for something different, something I had more of a passion for.
Science was something I always enjoyed, so when I heard about the Academy program through a friend and read up about it, I applied as soon as I could.
your experience at the Academy like?
The Academy was a really great way to learn
entry level lab skills, but what I didn’t expect to get out of the program was
all of the soft skills needed to be an industry professional. Getting so much
help from the teachers on career skills with resume and cover letter building,
the mock interviews and what to say during them was
so helpful. I was never bad
at getting jobs, but now I’m much more prepared for interviews than I ever
thought I could be.
You were named this year’s Zhu-Millman Scholar for the leadership you demonstrated in the classroom, as well as your academics. What does that mean to you?
It feels really good to receive acknowledgment
for the hard work I put in these past nine months. For me, it’s always important to be helpful
to other people, especially my classmates. Helping other people helped me learn
more too, because I’d explain something to someone else, and it would make me
realize where the gaps were in my understanding. It allowed me to know where I
needed to improve.
your plans after graduation?
My internship at Pandion Therapeutics has been extended through the summer, which I’m really excited about. I’m looking forward to continue to add on to the skills I’ve learned at the Academy.
My future goal is to obtain a full-time position at a company that is doing immunological research similar to what I currently do at Pandion. I feel confident in my skillset for many techniques needed to do that kind of research, and I can’t wait to continue to build on them.
Did you ever think that this would be your path?
It’s not that I didn’t think it was possible, it just wasn’t my focus. Growing up, I had other interests – hands-on work, like construction and carpentry -- and classroom learning didn’t seem like it was for me. Over time, I realized I was open to more formal education. It gave me the chance to learn the concepts needed to perform more advanced techniques in the lab, and to be where I am today. Nine months ago, I did not expect to have grown so much.
The Academy allowed me to start a journey that I feel really good about.
• GMGI and Gloucester Biotechnology Academy are grateful to Chi-Chi Zhu and Robert Millman for their continued, generous support of the Academy, and for sponsoring this award. Congratulations to Jordan and the other 2019 graduates!
*Photography ©Dave Stotzer, Cape Ann Photography
Zhu-Millman award winner Jordan Allen with Academy supporters Chi-Chi Zhu and Robert Millman, and Education Director John Doyle
Jordan Allen delivers his speech to the audience
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