Success Stories

Here’s what others are saying:

My name is Breon. After working several years in various jobs, I began to grow tired of working dead end jobs. The jobs I held ranged from stock room manager, undercover security, and certified phlebotomist. None of these jobs made me feel like I was making a difference, or progressing in a fashion that I thought best suited me. At the time I did not have the resources to attend any academic institutions. Then I heard about the free training at the BioTechnical Institute through a friend.

At first I thought that it would be just more of the same. Needless to say, I was more than pleasantly surprised. I received hands-on training from experts in the biotechnology field. I received training on everything from Good Manufacturing Practices, maintaining a biological safety cabinet, to molecular biology.

The staff at the Biotechnical Institute were courteous, caring, and demanded the very best. They would not accept any less than your best from you. The BTI staff would not let you underachieve, or sell yourself short. I really felt like they were working hardest for me. The job I currently hold is in the DNA Analysis Facility at Johns Hopkins Hospital. I’m doing something that is both fun, and challenging. The main point though, is that I finally feel like I’m making a difference.

Breon began his bioscience career in 1999 and is employed at Johns Hopkins University as a Laboratory Technician.

– Breon
Laboratory Technician
Johns Hopkins University

Ninety five percent of my job did not require much brainwork. So, my desire to learn more had increased. I knew that I was neglecting the most important part of my body – my brain, and if I wanted to grow and become successful I had to put my brain to work. I applied for a position and training as a Lab Technician. What is a Lab Technician? I knew that a Lab Technician had something to do with working in a lab, but that was all that I knew and the pay grade was convincing enough to give it a try.

To my surprise I was called in for an interview, how exciting! The interview was a success, they seemed to like me and I sure did like them. After the interview the two weeks notice was given and I was out of the old and in with the new. Not knowing exactly what I was going to be doing on my new job was not a concern to me. What I did know was that I was going to learn so much more. I was willing to learn everything and I was fortunate enough to be working with people who were willing to teach me everything. As I entered the new lab my conscience said, ‘thank you, thank you’! Obviously it was time to grow. I was surrounded by educated people; everybody in the lab had a degree; everybody was striving for success and I was in the middle of it all.

Assisting the students in their experiments was an experience I’ll never forget. I was part of a team who was finding a cure for lung cancer! We ran gels, grew bacteria, grew cells, froze cells for future use; I performed experiments on my own-prewritten protocols of course. My brain was developing into a muscle of knowledge. There are always new things to learn in research. Research is a part of all of our lives, we could not move toward the future without it. I want to sincerely thank Dr. Penno who welcomed me and taught me without an ounce of previous experience in research.

Jean began working as a lab technician in 1993 and is in the lab to this day.

– Jean
Senior Laboratory Technician
The Johns Hopkins University

I found out about the opportunity to work in the biosciences through a neighborhood job fair. I was looking for a summer job and I found a career! I was accepted into the training program as a Cell Culture Associate.

The plan was that if I successfully completed the training I would be hired as a full-time employee with a company that specializes in cell therapeutics. The program was challenging because I had to juggle training along with my full-time job, all which made my days start at 6am and end at 7pm. The hardest part of the program was being there. The program was worth it and I would definitely do it again. Dr. Penno and Scott, the lab manager were very encouraging and held us to very high standards of conduct and professionalism. You are expected to strive for excellence and you do! The encouragement they both give you makes you want to do more and try harder.

My friends were amazed with my accomplishments and because of my successful completion of the program, I was hired full-time, which also enabled me to help my family when they needed me. I am happy to be working in the bioscience field where I have a chance to possibly make someone’s life easier. These very sick people are counting on me to help them get better or at least make their lives livable. Working in an environment where everyone has at least a BS degree has made me want to go to college more than ever.

I plan to continue my education while I work and complete my Bachelors degree. I will probably complete a 2 year degree in Biotechnology and then transfer to a four year college to complete my education. I am happy that I went to work instead of going straight to school because I know that I will work hard in college since it means more to me now. I am constantly thinking and preparing for my future.

Shervon began working as a Cell Culture Associate in 1998 and is now employed by Cambrex Bio Science – (formerly BioScience Contract Production Corp).

– Shervon
Cell Culture Associate
Cambrex Bio Science

Dear Dr. Penno:

First, permit me to thank you for encouraging me, and for your support throughout my endeavors to succeed in this field. Thank you again for your patience while I gathered my thoughts and composed this letter. In this letter, not only will I address how I became interested in becoming a laboratory technician, but also acknowledge those people who have most inspired and encouraged me along the way.

As I reflect on how I became interested in bio-technology, there were many influences on that “road”. I remember deciding to go back to school and earn a degree. When I began working for Johns Hopkins, in housekeeping, I found out that I could pursue a degree at JHU. Although I was considering medicine, I was not certain what avenue to take; there are so many different specialties. Every “path” seemed to lead to laboratory technology. The people who most influenced and inspired me were involved in bio-technology. Each time I encountered anyone involved in the field, my desire to know more grew. My inquiries were answered with more than words. Eventually, I was invited to view, and later, participate in, some lab procedures. I knew then, the more I was shown, the more I wanted, needed, to learn.
As I mentioned earlier, there were a lot of people who I will “hold responsible” for helping me. Several of them I met while working in the housekeeping department. One them is my friend, Ted Pierson, who took me into the lab because it was easier for him to show me than explain (I think he thought I must have been a visual learner.). Sometimes, I would go to the lab on Saturday and visit with Ted, and learn more. There was also Chris, who answered a multitude of questions. And Sue, who allowed me to dissect a mouse. (Awesome!!) Then there is Karen, who answered unending questions about DNA and RNA. Karen remembered my inquisitiveness and forwarded an application to me for the Bio-Tech Institute. I applied, took the TEST, and passed (whew! !)! There’s also you, Dr. Penno, who as I said before encouraged and inspired me, not only with words, but also actions. My mother always told me, “Don’t give up just because things get tough, keep going”. And then my family, who put up with me through the application, selection, and interview process ( I drove them crazy.)
While taking the required classes, I realized that there was so much more to know about bio-technology. Sometimes it seemed like I couldn’t make it. It was difficult attending class early in the morning, working the late shift, and not getting home until the wee hours of the morning. But, I knew this is what I wanted to do, my heart’s desire. Everything had been placed on this road for me. There was no way I could stop pursuing my dream. At times it is hard to believe that everything is falling into place the way it has. But, this is reality, and it is a joyous feeling to realize my dreams.

Sheila is successfully employed at Morgan State University as a laboratory technician.

– Sheila
Laboratory Technician
Morgan State University

Manufacturing Day at Emergent BioSolutions: Celebrating 4 BTI Grads Employed and Contributing to the Company’s Success!

CNN Visit....

CNN visits BTI's classroom laboratories in Baltimore, Maryland in their report highlighting job training programs which provide new career opportunities and better earning potential for minorities.

The BTI Story....

The BTI Laboratory Associates Program provides tuition-free training in basic laboratory skills to bright, ambitious, unemployed and under-employed Maryland residents.

Emergent BioSolutions

BioTechnical Institute of Maryland graduates share their respective paths leading to fulfilling careers at Emergent BioSolutions on "Manufacturing Day"