Editor’s note: Each Wednesday, WRAL TechWire features a story highlighting the NC Bio Jobs Hub initiative. Go to the Bio Jobs Hub for more stories and info on life sciences job opportunities made possible by NC’s workforce training initiatives. This column originally ran in September 2021, and we are re-running it today. If you, like Mackenzie Dixon once was, are considering a career change, give this upcoming event a look.

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – When Mackenzie Dixon dropped out of high school to finish her studies at Wayne Community College (WCC), she didn’t realize she had taken the first step toward her future career.

Today, Dixon is a contract process technician at Novo Nordisk in Clayton. Getting there, however, was not a straightforward path.

“As a young woman, I was not sure what my next steps in life should be,” explained Dixon. “In high school, I always struggled. It was the hardest time in my life.”

Makenzie Dixon

While at WCC, in Goldsboro, she excelled in her studies, graduated early and decided to continue with her studies.

“The medical field has always been of interest to me,” said Dixon. “I wanted to find a career path that I loved. My sister works in the pharmaceutical industry, and she loves it. She calls it her ‘home away from home.’”

Going for it

Taking her sister’s advice, Dixon enrolled in Johnston Community College’s summer BioWork certificate program. “I just went for it, and I am so glad I did,” she said.

At JCC, Dixon met teachers and mentors who would guide her through the program and networking opportunities.

“When I started JCC’s BioWork certificate program, and I met one of my instructors, Ms. Cassi Narron, I knew I was going to have an awesome experience.”

During the 12-week course, Dixon’s interest in biomanufacturing grew as she began to learn more about her future career, from laboratory techniques and safety to fermentation and cell culture.

“I have become very passionate about this line of work,” she explained.

Job hunting? Upcoming career fair focuses on opportunities in biopharma sector

Transitioning into a new role

The guidance she received at JCC extended beyond the technical areas of her chosen field to how to write her resume and highlight her job skills

“My career development instructor, Ms. Roxanne Curry, helped me so much by working with me to create a professional resume and to develop professional interviews skills,” said Dixon. “Ms. Curry and Ms Narron have guided me, allowed me to grow and encouraged me through the program and beyond.”

She called upon the skills she learned in Curry’s classes when she attended the JCC BioWork Summer 2021 Virtual Career Fair. To prepare for the job fair, she and Curry practiced virtual interview skills.

Soon after, she began her position at Novo Nordisk.

“I really enjoy working at Novo Nordisk,” said Dixon. “They are so welcoming and everyone I have met and am working with are so sweet and always greet you with a smile.

“I love my career choice, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me.”

If you’re considering a career change, check out upcoming biopharma event

(C) N.C. Biotech Center