A Gap Year Filled with Learning

Jenn DeRosa, ’16 has spent the last year working at Ichor Therapeutics in LaFayette. In the fall she’ll transfer to Cornell University.

Jenn DeRosa has taken a year off school but her education hasn’t stopped. She’s spent the last year doing research at Ichor Therapeutics in LaFayette, a pre-clinical biotechnology company which focuses on therapeutic inventions for age-related diseases. A grant from the Methusaleh Foundation has supported her work. “It’s been a wonderful experience. I’ve changed a lot and grown in the last year being here.”

Just two years ago DeRosa was Valedictorian of her graduating class at Skaneateles High School. In 2016 she earned a Mathematics & Science degree with a honors minor from OCC. During her final semester on campus the College’s Career Center helped DeRosa find an internship at Ichor. She loved the experience. When the Methusaleh Foundation offered her a grant, she jumped at the opportunity to stay at Ichor for an entire year.

DeRosa’s work has focused on a macular degeneration program. She and fellow researchers have come up with an enzyme treatment which they are in the process of patenting. DeRosa is listed as the co-inventor.

Her Ichor experience has added a level of understanding to DeRosa’s knowledge which she could not have learned in a classroom. “When people here have big ideas I sit in on the thought processes, reduce it to practices and go through the work flow. I’ll be going back to school to become a ‘thinker’ as well so I’ll understand how both sides operate.”

In the fall DeRosa will resume pursuit of her bachelor’s degree at Cornell where she will major in Chemistry and Chemical Biology. She’s convinced her year at Ichor was exactly what she needed. “Working at Ichor during my last semester at OCC, I started to realize just how much I didn’t know. To be able to work here, learn so much and actually contribute, I don’t think I could have imagined things going any better.”