Shannon Bocquet | Student Spotlight
“This program is also one of the few in the country that builds on a hard science background and applies it to ongoing national security and public health concerns.“
– Shannon, Class of 2022
Originally from Colorado Springs, CO, Shannon received a B.S. in Molecular Biology and a B.A. in French and Francophone Studies from the University of Denver. In undergrad, she worked in a biophysics lab researching HIV particle assembly. Her thesis looked into producing fragment antigen-binding (Fab) antibodies in bacteria for specific tagging of SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein during the viral lifecycle. Shannon also worked with a counterterrorism nonprofit organization aimed at educating the community on indicators of violent extremist recruitment and radicalization.
What made you choose Georgetown University for your MS degree?
When I was looking for master’s programs, Georgetown was at the top of my list due to the academic prestige and the location in the capital. This program is also one of the few in the country that builds on a hard science background and applies it to ongoing national security and public health concerns.
What sparked your interest in the biomedical field?
CRISPR technology for genetic editing made big news while I was still in high school and it absolutely blew my mind. It opens the door for so many amazing biological advancements, but at the same time has the potential to be misused. CRISPR was really my first exposure to the idea of dual-use research and I’ve been interested in this field ever since.
What do you hope to do with your degree?
I’m really interested in working in the countering WMD and CBRNE field. This program does a really great job at teaching us how to translate the hard science into implementation of actual policies, and I want to take the health and science I’ve learned through this degree and apply it to defense programs.
What has been the most beneficial component in the Biohaz program that has helped you search for a job?
There are so many jobs across this industry that I didn’t even know existed until they were mentioned in this program. The Biohaz program has an incredible course selection that spans a wide range of topics which have really helped me understand where my interests lie and narrow my job search. After graduating, I’ll be starting a job that I heard about through this program.
What has been the most valuable experience you’ve had or course you’ve taken in this program?
One of my favorite courses has been Chemistry of War. Coming from a bachelor’s in biology and with this program being a biological focus, having a course that does a deep dive into chemical weapons and the various conventions prohibiting their use has been incredibly interesting. I’ve learned so much about the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and where it works or doesn’t work, and have been able to compare those principles to other nonproliferation and counter WMD programs.
What advice would you give to prospective students?
I’d say to keep an open mind when it comes to the job search. This program opens doors to so many different opportunities for internships and full-time positions through connections with instructors, guest lecturers, and even classmates. Find a topic or ongoing issue you think is interesting and follow it back to see if there are any job openings relevant to it.