I'm a veteran. I'm Latina. I’m a woman. I'm a mother. People can see those and say, ‘This will hold you back.’ But at Merck, I don't feel that way. Instead, I feel that whatever path I want to carve for my career, it’s possible.”
Landing at Merck was a bit of a stretch for Harriet Johnson. But then again, her life trajectory has been anything but routine.
“I don’t have a scientific background. I'm an art history major of all things, and I'm also a helicopter pilot,” Harriet says with a laugh. “But that’s what makes Merck great. It attracts all different kinds of people with all different kinds of backgrounds.”
While studying at Tufts for her B.A. in art history, Harriet also participated in its ROTC program. This enabled her to become an officer in the U.S. Navy after graduation. After 12 years of active duty, she joined the Merck Manufacturing Leadership Development Program, a three-year rotational program directed towards college graduates and transitioning veterans within our manufacturing division.
“The idea is you serve three rotations with different departments throughout the spectrum of manufacturing at Merck, aligned to either a technical, business or operations focus,” she notes.
Harriet began her rotation in 2015 at the Sterile/Liquids Pilot Plants in West Point, Pa. and then moved to the Packaging Commercialization group where she learned about how we package our products. For her third rotation, she’s working with the Global Planning and Events Management Group where she serves as a planner for new product launches.
This is Harriet’s first “real” job in the private sector. “I was commissioned the day I graduated college. So here I was at 33, looking for a job for the first time ever. It’s a very fun process, as I’m sure everyone knows,” she says with a grin. “I know it's my first job after the military, but I definitely have been impressed by the support Merck gives to veterans as well as the number of different ways that I can see my career moving forward,” she says. “There’s such a breadth of opportunity here but also flexibility so I can have a good work life balance.”
We should probably mention here that in addition to her military background, Harriet is also the mother of three children.
“I'm a veteran. I'm Latina. I’m a woman. I'm a mother. People can see those and say, ‘This is going to hold you back.’ But at Merck, I don't feel that way. Instead, I feel that whatever path I want to carve for my career, it’s possible. I just need to put in the hard work and the dedication. I need to make it happen, but it's possible.”
Merck Boston has a world-class facility in Affinity Selection Mass Spectrometry (ASMS) that uses Automated Ligand Identification System (ALIS) technology which allows the determination of protein binding in unpurified mixtures of compounds.