Morgan Fabian grew up around NASCAR, one of North Carolina’s major industries. Her family moved from Bedford, Pennsylvania when she was two for her father to take a job with a race team. She’s now working in biotechnology, one of the state’s other leading industries.
She enrolled in Rowan-Cabarrus Community College after graduating in 2006 from Jay M Robinson High School in Concord. After completing an associate degree in arts, she decided biotechnology would provide a more immediate career than forensic psychology, her first career choice. To pursue a career in biotechnology meant returning to Rowan-Cabarrus.
She graduated in 2010 with a two-year degree in applied science. The semester before she graduated, she interned with the Appalachian State University (ASU) Human Performance Laboratory. The internship led to a summer job that turned into permanent position. At ASU, she assisted with laboratory work and managed interns from Rowan-Cabarrus and other schools.
In September 2012, the Dole Foods Nutrition Research Laboratory hired her as a fulltime research assistant. She contributes to studies of the company’s fruit and vegetable portfolio helping to identify beneficial phytochemicals and develop healthy food products. She’s learning new techniques in the lab under the tutelage of Research Scientist Fuxia Jin, PhD, and gaining experience on instrumentation such as high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC).
“Currently, I’m assisting Fuxia with the various biochemical assays we run in the lab, making up reagents, organizing the labspace and preparing the fruit and vegetable samples for analysis” Fabian said. “I follow along with her to the point where I’m comfortable then I start doing experiments by myself. The experience is very different from ASU where we dealt with blood, serum and plasma. Dole is more fruit and vegetables and the compounds found in them.”
At 25, Fabian acknowledges she’s in a good place with a steady job and opportunities to continue her education and earn a bachelor’s degree. She credits Rowan-Cabarrus with playing a role in her success.
“Rowan-Cabarrus definitely prepared me for working with different types of people,” Fabian said. “Everything I know about lab work in general I know. for the most part, from Rowan-Cabarrus. I didn’t even know what a pipette was before I started classes.”
She specifically recognizes the importance of the internships offered through the cooperative education program. “Certainly do the internship whether you have to or not,” she said. “If you make the most of it, it can turn into working at Dole or NC State or ASU. You need to show people you’ll work for free and do well at it then they are willing to pay you.”