The 100 Diverse Corporate Leaders in STEM blog series features a new business executive Monday-Friday and the exemplary work his or her company is doing to support 21st century STEM learning and workforce development- particularly for women, minorities and under-represented groups. Learn more and download the whole copy at STEMConnector.org/100Diverse. Follow the conversation on social media using #100STEMLeaders. Today's Diverse Corporate Leader is Cynthia M. Patton, senior vice president and chief compliance officer at Amgen.
Cynthia M. Patton
Senior Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer
Cynthia M. Patton serves as senior vice president and chief compliance officer, responsible for Amgen’s worldwide compliance and business ethics organization. Patton joined Amgen in 2005, and most recently was a vice president in the Amgen law department with responsibility for commercial legal activities in the United States. Before joining Amgen, she spent seven years as general counsel of SCAN Health Plan, a California Health Maintenance Organization (HMO). Patton serves as secretary of the Watts Healthcare Corporation and is a board member of the Eisner Pediatric and Family Medical Center. Patton received her juris doctor from George Washington University and her bachelor’s degree from Vassar College.
Amgen is committed to unlocking the potential of biology for patients suffering from serious illnesses by discovering, developing, manufacturing and delivering innovative human therapeutics. This approach begins by using tools like advanced human genetics to unravel the complexities of disease and understand the fundamentals of human biology. Amgen focuses on areas of high unmet medical need and leverages its biologics manufacturing expertise to strive for solutions that improve health outcomes and dramatically improve people’s lives. A biotechnology pioneer since 1980, Amgen has grown to be the world’s largest independent biotechnology company, has reached millions of patients around the world and is developing a pipeline of medicines with breakaway potential.
Cynthia on Diversity and STEM
What are the STEM initiatives that your company has supported that you are most proud of?
Amgen and the Amgen Foundation have a deep commitment to advancing STEM education. Our approach is aimed at both developing young scientific talent globally through hands-on laboratory experiences and recognizing the critical role teachers and mentors play in sparking a love of science. The two initiatives I take the most pride in are Amgen Scholars at the undergraduate level and the Amgen Biotech Experience at the secondary level.
Through a $34 million commitment, Amgen Scholars provides hundreds of undergraduates across the U.S. and Europe with the opportunity to undertake research at a top university. Many students have found such opportunities to be transformative, and 85% of our alumni who have completed their undergraduate studies are now pursuing advanced scientific degrees and careers. Through a $9 million commitment, the Amgen Biotech Experience has brought biotechnology right into the classrooms of 360,000 students. This innovative program, designed by Amgen scientists and educators, allows teachers and their students to utilize research-grade equipment to explore the methods scientists use to create biotechnology medicines. Including other initiatives, since 1991 we’ve contributed over $80 million to advancing STEM education.
What is the key to smart STEM investments?
Smart investments are critical to our long-term strategy in STEM education. First, it’s important to articulate clear goals and indicators of success for the short and long-term with our investments. Amgen Scholars, for instance, is an eight-year commitment designed not only to track impact over time, but to allow our university partners to share data-based best practices across institutions. Allowing for comparative performance and continuous improvement is a hallmark of our STEM initiatives.
Second, we strive to create meaningful impact through our STEM investments, moving beyond measuring outputs or activities, and instead centering on real outcomes. Third, we recognize that the time and talent of our staff members is just as important as the financial resources we are privileged to provide, and our best STEM initiatives harness this talent to strengthen our overall impact. Lastly, smart STEM investments should strongly align with the overall mission of your organization, which for Amgen is serving patients by transforming the promise of science and biotechnology into actual therapies.
What is your advice on using private-public partnerships to tackle our most pressing education challenges in STEM?
STEM education is too large of an issue for any one company or organization to solve alone. We recognize this, and are committed to leading and joining larger scale partnerships with academic institutions and nonprofits that are tackling these challenges in new and unique ways. Amgen is proud to be a partner of 100Kin10, a multi-sector network responding to the national imperative to train 100,000 excellent science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) teachers by 2021. We joined 100Kin10 in 2012 with a $1 million commitment, and have made grants to several 100Kin10 partners to advance STEM education in a multitude of ways. Our participation in 100Kin10, Change the Equation, and other collaborative cross-sector partnerships are core to our strategy and integral to achieving real change towards the advancement of STEM education.
What is your advice to those involved in promoting STEM education?
Relevancy. How do we best connect and bring alive the science students learn in classrooms with the science being utilized every day in universities, companies, government and across the globe to create, innovate, and advance knowledge? How do we best show the application of particular scientific concepts and theories to enhance student interest and excitement in science and scientific careers?