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The International Changemaker

The International Changemaker

Women-in-STEAM Leader Inspires EF Students

Dr. Jian Irish visits EF Academy. December 1st, 2023.

Last week, Jian Irish, President/COO of Metagenomi, a leading biopharmaceutical company, visited EF Academy to talk to all students about her career and give students advice about achieving success regardless of the field they chose

Dr. Irish was born in China and lived with her father, who worked very hard for her to have a good education. Dr. Irish earned a BS in chemical engineering before moving to Japan, where earned a Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences. Dr. Irish then moved to the United States. After settling in America, she started studying at UCLA, earning her MBA and began her career as a biotechnologist.

Biotechnology is the study of the exploitation of biological processes for industrial and other purposes, but for Dr. Irish is a little different, her field covers genetic engineering (CRISPR gene editing) and drug development. She mentioned how when she was younger, she didn’t have a lot of interest in school or education, but when she got more mature, she knew that she wanted to contribute her effort to chemistry as she got inspired by her chemistry teacher. “I had a great teacher, and great mentors are good inspiration,” said Dr. Irish.

Dr. Irish’s speech was very motivational for many students, especially because she mentioned how she was paid a minimum wage in the beginning, and had to work harder than others, due to the fact that she was a foreign woman.

Students asking Dr. Irish questions after her talk. December 1st, 2023. (Hannah Lunkewitz)

When asked by EF students for tips on being successful, Dr. Irish said, “Do not wait till the last minute to start homework; give everything your best effort; look confident and energized.”

After her speech, many students stayed for extra information, during this time Dr. Irish shared some more information about her past self and mentioned that she got stuck in a “black hole” where she wasn’t doing anything and felt stuck. She had to sit back and think about what she could do to get out of the “black hole.” “Think about your strength, and you’ll be surprised of what you find,” she highlighted.

Jian Irish is an amazing, strong, independent woman, and she is certainly a very good role model. Many students hope for her to come back to campus and look forward to new Career Days with other talented and amazing specialists from different fields.

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About the Contributor
Hannah Lunkewitz is an eighteen-year-old senior, originally from Frankfurt, Germany. She has lived in Los Angeles for 8 years and has a passion for writing and journalism. She loves outdoor activities and enjoys talking to people about their lives.

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