Mariluz Santana is well on the way to fulfilling her dream of becoming a leader in the field of microbiology.
It all started in high school when she had a strong desire to help people through a career in the field of health care. She entered college with the intention of becoming a pharmacist, but her courses in microbiology altered her vision. She found herself becoming passionate about working in a laboratory environment on projects related to developing new treatments for disease. In addition to her courses, she worked at a part-time job in the college's genetics laboratory. Then, during her senior year, Mariluz was one of 20 students chosen to participate in a two-month Biotechnology Workshop conducted by one of the Johnson & Johnson biotechnology companies. This experience confirmed her career goals.
"The workshop was a tremendous opportunity to see, firsthand, what working in a biotechnology company is really all about," Mariluz says. "It really gave me the impetus to keep going in the field I had studied in college."
As a microbiologist for Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics, Mariluz became interested in developing both her leadership and scientific skills. She has taken management courses offered by her company and is also receiving tuition support as she pursues a master's degree in Quality Assurance and Regulatory Affairs at Temple University. She currently manages a team of microbiologists who tests and oversees the quality of medical diagnostics products. She also enjoys participating in the Johnson & Johnson Women's Leadership Initiative and the Johnson & Johnson chapter of the Hispanic Organization for Leadership Achievement (HOLA)--activities she feels have helped her to advance in a career that she finds exciting and fulfilling.