Donor Spotlight: The Gift of Mentorship
As a young adult, Maggie Rosa was given the opportunity of a lifetime – to work in the lab of Dr. Reuben Leberman. “It’s still a mystery as to why he hired me but I know that it changed the course of my life,” Maggie says, reflecting on the value of his mentorship.
Dr. Leberman is a renowned scientist and at the time, was working as a member of Dr. Aaron Klug’s laboratory (the premier lab for molecular biology in the world in the 1960s, operated from the British Medical Research Council’s Laboratory of Molecular Biology – and the same group that worked on what would later win Dr. Klug the Nobel Prize in Chemistry) when he hired Maggie as a technician shortly after she graduated from high school.
Her experience as a lab tech under his guidance ignited her passion for science and led her to ultimately pursue a PhD in Biophysics and Molecular Biology from the University of Chicago. There, she met her future spouse, Joe Rosa, and upon graduation they both moved East and lead successful biotech careers at Boston-based Biogen. As Maggie says, “It’s a long story, best shared over a glass of wine, but my journey as a scientist all began as a lab tech for Dr. Leberman.”
The Rosa’s have lived in Gloucester since 2001 and their experience in biotech, paired with their passion for Cape Ann, was instrumental in the founding of GMGI and helped shape the organization’s vision as we know it today: an organization with local roots and a national reputation for marine genomics research, economic impact, and education.
Maggie and Joe are long-time supporters of GMGI’s Gloucester Biotechnology Academy, and the unique and life-changing educational opportunities it offers young adults. Maggie understands firsthand the importance of mentorship, which is a pillar of the Academy model. “The Academy students are learning all the skills needed to be successful lab technicians and whether in the classroom, lab, or out on internship, they are supported by the gentle, guiding hands of Academy instructors,” Maggie said.
After graduation, Academy students go on to intern and work full-time at some of the pre-eminent scientific companies and organizations in Massachusetts. “What an incredible opportunity. They are starting out exactly where I started, as a lab technician. Just as my life was changed by Dr. Leberman, Joe and I want to give students the opportunity to change their lives at the Academy,” says Maggie.
In January, Maggie and Joe made a donation to GMGI in honor of Dr. Leberman. Their gift will be used to support the Gloucester Biotechnology Academy, and the hands-on, innovative education and mentorship opportunities it provides to our students.
“Joe and I are forever grateful for the support we received as young professionals, and were both fortunate to benefit from people who, for whatever reason, believed in us. We want to pass that on,” said Maggie.