A First Quarter to Remember in MBP

Byron Fan (MBP '22) talks about his start in Northwestern Engineering's Master of Biotechnology program and what he's looking forward to about his upcoming internship at Eli Lilly.

Byron Fan (MBP '22) thought he would be beginning his experience in Northwestern Engineering's Master of Biotechnology program (MBP) in Evanston this fall, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Fan's graduate education began remotely. Fan didn't let the change discourage him.

He enrolled in MBP because of the research opportunities, the emphasis on critical thinking, professional development, and engineering courses, and the robust alumni network. He realized he could still benefit from each of those while taking virtual classes, so he dove right in. As his second quarter starts, he feels connected to his classmates and professors. Plus, he accepted an internship position from Eli Lilly and Co. for this summer.

Fan looked back on his first quarter and forward to continued growth in MBP.  

"I hope that the importance of biotechnology to the public will continue to increase post-pandemic." — Byron Fan


What were your goals as you got started in the program?

I wanted to gain a clearer understanding of my career goals and pursuits, perform excellently in my classes, and secure an internship for the coming summer. 

How would you describe your first quarter experience?

Despite the virtual environment, it did not affect the way I learned in the program. I got to know my classmates, attend virtual events, and have meaningful conversations with my professors and peers. Faculty and advisers were always available to provide support when needed, and lectures, which I always looked forward to attending, were engaging and exciting.

What were the most important lessons you learned during the quarter?

The critical thinking and analysis skills I developed are the most important because these skills are the most valued in the biotech industry and any field that is research-based. These skills can also help with problem solving, decision making, and written and verbal communication. 

What are you looking forward to about your internship with Eli Lilly?

I’m very excited for the opportunity to participate in scientific research and product development in an industrial setting. I’m also excited for the opportunity to meet and network with people in the industry.

How important will biotech be as society continues to face COVID-19?

Biotech companies are at the forefront of developing and distributing interventions for COVID-19, such as a vaccine, so their importance is paramount to the well-being and health of society. The public awareness of biotech companies has increased since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and I hope that awareness of its importance will continue to increase post-pandemic.

What are you looking forward to most for the rest of your time in MBP?

Hopefully meeting all my classmates and professors in person. Also, I’m excited for the mentored research opportunities next year.   

What advice would you give to a prospective student considering MBP?

Reach out to current MBP students and faculty to learn more about the program. We are always happy to provide advice and share our experiences in MBP.

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