From the Bottom and Worked Her Way Up

Kitty Mei earned three positions in three years at BABEC beginning as the intern.

Three years ago, the Bay Area Bioscience Education Community (BABEC) offered an internship position to Kitty Mei. In 2017, Kitty had recently graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a BA in Global Studies and two certificates from City College of San Francisco – one for Lab Assistant, the other for Stem Cell Technology. Such an interesting combination was probably the first clue at the extraordinary talent BABEC was about to develop. After all, someone with that kind of educational background indicates a person who is curious, open-minded, and has a healthy dose of being overly precise.

In her first year as an intern, Kitty filled hundreds of lab orders, made liters of reagents and schlepped lab equipment to and from various high schools throughout the Bay Area. Despite only being an intern, she approached her work as if she was a Quality Control Manager. This mindset led Kitty to revise the lab-related documentation which lead to an improved supply chain process for BABEC.

Kitty’s work ethic reveals much about Kitty and her values. “I take pride in what I do and the success of the work I produce,” said Kitty. “I want to do well and I aim for something to be as perfect as I can. I feel like this has a lot to do with how I was raised and the culture and environment I was around. If something needed to be done, then whoever was free had to step in to get it done.”

“Kitty has some great qualities that make her a super asset to BABEC.” Ying-Tsu, Associate Director, said.  “She is self-directed, takes initiative and knows what it is that needs to get done and she does it.”

This can-do attitude propelled her promotion to Lab Manager the following year. In this role, she managed a team of lab assistants and interns. Being in a position to get to know her team and mentor them was one of her major accomplishments. While managing people can take up considerable time and energy, Kitty did even more during her year as Lab Manager. BABEC’s website needed improvement and BABEC didn’t have a webmaster on staff. Kitty stepped up and taught herself WordPress and HTML by her own volition. She took care of it.

As Kitty has been developing professionally, BABEC’s portfolio of services has been growing. This year, new program managers have been hired to manage BABEC programs by region, directors are focused on strategic partnerships and development, and the lab continues to fill orders. With the expansion, overall operations needed better precision and routine attention. Fortunately, BABEC did not need to look far for someone to take this challenge. Earlier this month, Kitty was promoted to Operations Manager shortly before her third-year anniversary at BABEC.

During her tenure, Kitty has revamped the lab, developed protocols for creating reagents, managed a closely-knit lab team, updated the website, and coordinated teambuilding events for BABEC.

Undoubtedly, Kitty is driven. When I asked her if she lives by some personal mantra or quote, she replied, “Those who don’t work, don’t eat.”

Three positions in three years beginning as the intern. Kitty is clearly going places, and BABEC is open to that kind of drive and initiative.

BABEC offers internships for high school and college students year-round.  For information on internships at BABEC, please email babec@babec.org.

Jennielyn Dino-RossiFrom the Bottom and Worked Her Way Up