On March 24, 2022, faculty members Dr. Nick Kapp and Dr. Jing Folsom organized a walking tour of the Genentech campus in South San Francisco for Skyline College’s Biotechnology (BTEC) students and Parenteral Drug Association (PDA) club members.

The tour started at the Wind Harp overlooking the Genentech campus as the “singing” metal sculpture harmonized with the blustery wind. Pam Rood, a member of Genentech’s Protein Analytical Chemistry Quality Control Department and PDA volunteer, pointed out the various buildings and their purposes. Dr. Kapp, who formerly worked at Genentech, also spoke about the changes on the Genentech campus, relying heavily on Genentech’s 20-year master plan. This plan provides a vision for the company’s growth to meet the continually evolving needs of its research and development and business models in partnership with the city of South San Francisco. Most companies have a planning document, even Skyline College.

On the tour, students walked through Genentech’s public spaces and had the opportunity to speak with Rood about projects she has worked on, employment opportunities within Genentech, and the future of biotechnology in the Bay Area.

At the Founders Research Center sculpture, students learned about Genentech founders Bob Swanson and Herb Boyer and how they created one of the most successful partnerships between research and business. With its prime location between Silicon Valley and San Francisco and surrounded by academic institutions, Genentech is at the heart of a biotechnology innovation hub. Students understood the value of having such a company within their own backyard, and they enthusiastically raised their hands when asked if they wanted to work at Genentech after they graduated.

To capitalize on the inspiration provided by this tour, Dr. Folsom encouraged students to seek out learning and growth opportunities to network and engage in the field, as well as to prepare themselves professionally by updating resumes and taking advantage of resources such as the Stem Center and the MESA (Math Engineering Science Achievement) program.

Skyline College’s BTEC program thanks Pam Rood and the West Coast Chapter of the PDA for hosting our students. In addition to working for Genentech, Rood is also a volunteer for PDA, a group of professionals who work in Biopharma whose goal is to inform and foster communication with students who wish to have careers in biotech. For more information on Skyline College’s BTEC program, please visit https://skylinecollege.edu/biotechnology/index.php.


Article by Tammy Wong and Nick Kapp | Photo by Tammy Wong

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