Since she was 14, Lauren Repmann has been working at an accelerated pace. When she graduated from high school, she already had an associate’s degree.
Now, at 21, he has a full-time position at Merck in Durham, North Carolina. She is the first Rowan University student to secure a place in the pharmaceutical company’s Manufacturing Leadership Development Program (MLDP) and because she graduated in biomedical engineering in December, a full semester early, she is also the first in cohort to start. in the program.
Merck’s MLDP is designed to provide an environment where graduates can grow and gain experience in manufacturing and supplying medicines and vaccines that save and improve lives around the world. The program offers coaching from Merck’s senior executives, exposure to real-life business challenges, as well as training from industry-leading scientists and engineers.
“I’ve always been someone who likes to challenge myself,” said Repmann, who grew up in Laurence Harbor, Middlesex County, with a view of the New York skyline sparkling beyond her bedroom window. “I don’t like walking the easy path.”
He comes from a family of engineers: both parents have an engineering background and his younger brother, Jason, is in the second year of the mechanical engineering program at Rowan.
While trying to decide which university to attend, Repmann immediately impressed the faculty researcher, Dr. Mary Staehle, during a visit to Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering.
“Lauren came with a list of questions and a very defined profile of what she was looking for in a university and biomedical engineering program,” recalled Staehle. “And she in the end she suited the Rowan almost perfectly. We were able to offer everything she was looking for in college, plus things she didn’t know she was looking for. “
“She joined my lab in her first semester,” Staehle said. “This is quite unusual for a college student.”
During her years at Rowan, Repmann continued research studies in Staehle’s lab into the toxicity of various chemicals on the nervous system and was among the co-authors with Staehle in a paper examining developmental neurotoxicity caused by chemicals. When the experiments failed, she took what she had learned and applied it to the next project.
“We learned a lot from failure,” Staehle said. “She was able to pass this information on to some of our new businesses in the lab.”
Students have the opportunity to work on major research projects at Rowan funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, industry and others, said Dr. Mark Byrne, founding department head and professor of biomedical engineering.
“Great students like Lauren excel in this environment and can make a substantial impact as they become leading engineers,” said Byrne.
During the height of the pandemic blockade, she joined her father at the forefront of manufacturing, producing components for medical devices. Last year, she got a summer scholarship from the University of Florida.
Also part of Honors College, Repmann mentored first-year engineering students, worked as an admissions ambassador for Rowan, and served as president of Rowan University IEEE Women in Engineering Club. She also built Rowan from the ground up. University 3D Printing Club, Staehle noted. Last year it was recognized as the best student organization of the University.
“Not only did she design this organization to teach and train Rowan’s students with 3D printing, but she made sure they were philanthropic in those activities, with a direct impact on surrounding communities,” Staehle said.
His academics and approach to learning impressed Dr. Erik Brewer, who teaches in Rowan’s biomedical engineering department.
“He has a genuine sense of wanting to improve,” Brewer said. “If I had an employee like this, this is someone I could trust to give an assignment.”
At Merck, Repmann is working on the technical operations team, supporting the manufacturing process of a major vaccine. He will remain in that role until August 2023, when he moves on to the second of three rotations at another Merck site, possibly overseas.
“I want to make this world better for all generations to come after me,” Repmann said. “I know it’s a cliche answer, but that’s what I want to dedicate my life to. I am really excited about everything that will happen along that journey ”.