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“I think for a lot of students the biotechnology program opens a lot of different doors.“
Like her parents before her, Kelly-Ann Condon went to college later in life. “My parents divorced when I was a senior in high school, and there really wasn’t a big emphasis on college coming from my family,” she says. But after 20 years in the workforce, Kelly-Ann is back in school at MassBay. “Like many others, the economy affected me,” she says. Kelly-Ann was laid off three years ago from her job acquiring property rights for Verizon to lay fiber optics cables, and while she is now working for a Verizon contractor and enjoys her work, she sees the handwriting on the wall.
“I don’t want to be in the same position I was in three years ago with no job. I figured I better learn something relevant to today’s economy,” she says. Kelly-Ann went on the Internet to research lucrative and sustainable jobs and found three. Financial accounting, which she had no interest in. Marketing, which she felt would be too volatile. And third, biotechnology. “I took a class and really liked it,” she says. “I had high school science about 30 years ago – that’s it! But for the first time in 15 years I’m using my brain and learning.”
Kelly-Ann is taking two classes at night while continuing her work with the Verizon contractor. She says she chose MassBay because she had taken a few paralegal classes “about 20 years ago” and wanted to apply those credits toward her associate degree. Today you can find her in the biotechnology lab on the 5th floor studying gene expressions in the RNA of cancer cells. “I look at this stuff I’m doing, and who would’ve thought I could do this?” she says. “Believe me, I didn’t think I’d be in school at 47, but here I am!”
When asked what it’s like to be studying alongside colleagues who are half her age, Kelly-Ann smiles and says, “I think it’s fun! It’s funny to see some younger kids in here, but I think with my business experience I give them advice they can use. It’s a lot of work, especially with my other job, but I think it’s worth it. I was getting bored where I was, and I wasn’t learning, so to be learning something entirely new is refreshing!”