As far back as he can remember, Zeshan Khan’s passion has been science. The second-year ACES student declared himself a biology major when he started at Montgomery College, but his entrepreneurial spirit led him to minor in business and to join the College’s Southern Management Leadership Program. Khan was named the student member of the PIC MC (Pinkney Innovation Complex for Science and Technology) Foundation Board, a group leading the effort to bring biotech and technology companies to the Germantown Campus.
“We chose Zeshan as our board member this year because he takes initiative. He continues to take advantage of every opportunity we put before him,” said Jim Muir, Chair of PIC MC and Vice President of Hughes Network.
While Khan works toward transfer to UMD to pursue a bachelor’s degree in the biotech field, his ultimate dream is to help future STEM students get hands-on experience in areas they are studying or planning to pursue as a career. Most often, internships are a source of real-world experience, but those opportunities are limited—not everyone lands an internship.
“Work experience is very important especially for women. I know a lot of women who drop out—and men too—from STEM as a major because it’s really hard,” Khan says. “I want to create my own [program] so everyone can get hands-on experience to see if that’s really what they want to do.”
PIC MC signed a development agreement last year to add a state-of-the-art life sciences/technology building to the Montgomery College Germantown Campus.
19710 Observation Drive, LLC, a joint venture between Montgomery County companies South Duvall and Minkoff Development, will build a $40 million facility at 19710 Observation Drive. The 120,000 square foot building will include lab, office, manufacturing, and distribution space aimed at companies focused on areas such as biotech, life sciences and cybersecurity.
Khan’s plan would include providing hands-on experience to kids in elementary school and ultimately build the program to serve middle, high school, and college students. As he learns more about the mission of PIC MC as the student member of the board, Khan envisions there being an intentional, accessible, and clear-cut pathway for students to connect themselves, and their skills, to established businesses.
“PIC MC will really help students show [potential employers] that they have experience,” he says. “By bringing businesses to the College, students can earn internships, even a hired position… that’s an instant bonus to their resume.”
By bringing businesses to the College, students can earn internships, even a hired position… that’s an instant bonus to their resume
Serving on the board has been enriching, Khan says: “I have gained a lot of valuable experience with PIC MC, including a marked improvement with my own communication skills.”
Khan attends meetings with administrators and board members, and he served as a liaison between the board members and students. And he’s already making connections with industry leaders.
“He immediately took our advice and [connected via] LinkedIn to each board member,” says Martha Schoonmaker, executive director of PIC MC, “… [he] attends committee meetings, and he reached out to Gail Wasserman, chair of the Academic Partnerships Committee and SVP at AstraZeneca, to interview her for a school project.”
Dr. Wasserman, Khan says, gave him advice on the biotech field and encouraged him to go forward in his professional path.
“PIC MC helps ensure the success of our students by mentoring each student board member,” Schoonmaker said. “They gain first-hand knowledge of the operations and functions of our governing board and having direct access to industry leaders and our College leadership.”
If you have a technology or life sciences company, we have available space for you to locate. Please contact Martha Schoonmaker at firstname.lastname@example.org.