in her own words: andrea wagner
A Berkshire County resident who started a sterile manufacturing company in 2014, Andrea Wagner is actively looking for ways to inspire young women to pursue careers in science. She recently established a scholarship fund that supports female students who are sophomores or juniors currently enrolled at a four-year college.
I grew up in Indianapolis in an upper middle class family during the 70s. Both of my parents were highly educated—my father had a Ph.D. in biochemistry and my mother had a Ph.D. in psychology—and they expected my siblings and me to take our own educations very seriously.
I graduated from high school a year early and went off to earn my bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Northern Arizona University. I remember being in a differential equations class, which was a requirement, and out of 30 students I was one of two women. We were the only two students who got A’s. Even today the glass ceilings are still there, and I’m tired of being the only woman in the room.
At Berkshire Sterile Manufacturing, one of the biggest challenges is finding women to hire at the director level and above. I see this as an opportunity to establish a biotech community in the area and be a place that girls from any college in Massachusetts can come to for internships and other opportunities, thus feeding the pipeline.
The reason I created this scholarship—and I fully believe this—is because we don’t have enough women in science. We need more executive-level women. Women are thinkers. Women are organized. Women need to be mentored, encouraged—whatever it takes to get them to seriously consider a career in science.
People want to be connected with their gift in some way, and Berkshire Taconic helps with that. I think it’s easy to feel conflicted about how to give enough, how to do it best. It’s a brand new fund and I hope it grows to have more of an impact, but for now even a couple thousand dollars means a lot.