Mayne Pharma Welcomes First Group of Scholars

GREENVILLE—Mayne Pharma held a special reception on its Greenville campus this month to introduce the first group of Pitt Community College students selected for participation in the new Mayne Pharma Scholars Program.

Held Aug. 13, the event gave officials with the pharmaceutical manufacturing company a chance to welcome students Mariela Aguirre, Annabel Bivans, Haleigh Combs, Maria Gonzalez, Julianne Haifley, Clemente Rodrigues and Natasha Thorp to the program and provide them with tours of the Mayne Pharma facility.

“This program is really outstanding,” said Mayne Pharma Quality Control Director Mike Emerson. “We get a lot of great students that come out of Pitt Community College (because) the programs they offer are really centered around the pharmaceutical industry.”

Announced in March, the Mayne Pharma Scholars Program is the result of a partnership between Mayne Pharma, PCC, Pitt County Schools, and the Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce. The program is designed to identify high potential, STEM-focused students and invest in their education toward a career in the pharmaceutical industry, specifically with Mayne Pharma. Students selected for participation receive full scholarships for two years (or eight semesters) to attend PCC.

“We are really thrilled to have these seven (students) go through the program and eventually be part of our organization,” Emerson said. “We feel that with the education they’re getting at Pitt Community College, they’re going to be some of our shining employees.”

Combs, who started the biotechnology program this month, is already looking forward to the day she can officially call herself a Mayne Pharma employee. “I’m a part of Mayne Pharma; it’s in my blood,” she says with a big smile.

Combs said that when she moved to North Carolina from Illinois nearly three years ago, she wasn’t sure college would even be an option. Money was tight, and she feared the possibility of working in a menial job and “living paycheck to paycheck.”

Her outlook changed, though, through participation in PCC’s VISIONS Career Development and Scholarship Program. Combs said her VISIONS advisors and PCC Biotechnology Department Chair Christy Weeks encouraged her to look into the Mayne Pharma Scholars Program. She did—and she was hooked.

“… I was like, ‘This is exactly what I want to do; this is who I am,’” she says. “… Every day from now on, I’m like, ‘I’m going to work at Mayne Pharma. This is where I’m going to be.’”

As Mayne Pharma Scholars, Combs and her fellow program participants will receive a foundational education through Pitt’s biotechnology curriculum as well as applied skills in laboratory testing procedures and techniques. They will also have an opportunity to work as full-time interns at Mayne Pharma.