ROCK the Science

An Evening Celebrating Science, Innovation, and Expanded Career Pathways in the Life Science Sector.

ROCK the Science aims to raise awareness of life science careers and the pathways that lead the way for students to engage with industry professionals.

For Students and Educators: Meet and network with professionals in fields such as biology, chemistry, engineering, physics, and more. Discover the paths they took to get where they are today and get tips for pursuing your own dream career in science and innovation.

For Professionals: Take an evening to meet other industry professionals and mentor students and teachers interested in life science careers.

Students from ULP's Summer Research Program will be exhibiting their posters and awards will be given for Best Poster Presentation. 

The event programming will include a keynote, a career panel discussion, and poster presentations from the Summer Research Program students. The 200+ attendees include students, educators, employers, and community partners aimed at increasing industry-aligned life science career opportunities for students and professionals while expanding access to an exceptional workforce for employers.

Let's ROCK the Science in Orange County!

Event Schedule:

4:00pm Registration, Networking, and Poster Exhibition

4:45pm Welcome 

5:00pm Keynote Speaker: Uma Lakshmipathy - Site Head of Patheon Cell & Gene Translational Services, Sr. Director R&D at Thermo Fisher Scientific 

5:20pm Pathways to Life Science: Navigating Education to Employment

Moderated by: Brandon Currin - K-12 Pathway Coordinator at North Orange County Regional Occupational Program


Priscilla Bernal - District Manager, Biosciences, Inside Sales at Thermo Fisher Scientific

Bindhu Hosuru - Scientist II at Thermo Fisher Scientific 

Jason Messner - Mechanical R&D Engineer at Vena Vitals

5:50pm Beyond the First Job: Advancing in Life Science Careers 

Moderated by: Emma Zschunke - Integrated Science / Anatomy & Physiology Teacher at Northwood High School


Namritha Ravinder - Director, Cell & Gene'Therapy R&D at Thermo Fisher Scientific 

Ashkan Abbasian - Sr. Director, Regional Marketing at Thermo Fisher Scientific

Jacob Hambalek Scientist II at Autonomous Medical Devices Incorporated

6:20pm Summer Research poster winners announced and awards presentation

6:30pm - 7:30pm Networking

Poster Presentation Judges

  • Anne Hultgren - CEO at the Beckman Foundation
  • David Piper - Senior Director, R&D, Protein & Cell Analysis at Thermo Fisher Scientific
  • Basile Siewe, PhD - Business Development Director at Thermo Fisher Scientific
  • Mark Federici - Director, Global Business Development for Bio-Innovations at Thermo Fisher Scientific
  • Uma Lakshmipathy - Site Head of Patheon Cell & Gene Translational Services, Sr. Director R&D at Thermo Fisher Scientific 


Register for Rock the Science


About our mission:

ULP takes an innovative and highly-effective approach to making high-wage careers in STEM accessible to diverse populations, while fostering innovation, economic development, and job creation within the life sciences sector. Working in tandem, ULP’s wet lab incubator provides the costly laboratory infrastructure innovators need to foster life science innovation and advance life-saving technologies, while its workforce development program provides the next generation with exposure and access to the practical, technical, and hands-on skills needed to succeed in the STEM workforce.

Since opening in 2019, our innovative workforce development programming has inspired more than 2,000 students; 84% are students of color, 61% identify as female, and 50% are from low-income families. In 2023 alone, this programming served 663 students, 87% of whom indicated an interest in pursuing a career in STEM, and 21% of whom stated that they are or will be first generation in their family to attend college. Ava, a high school student participant mentored by a resident company, said this of her experience:

“ULP has been a pivotal factor in setting the direction for my future academic and professional pursuits. It is one of the few high-caliber places available to high school students considering careers in life sciences. The quality of instructors exceeded my expectations; I have met amazing mentors who are leaders in their fields all while gaining experience in the ULP’s state-of-the-art lab.”

To continue empowering students like Ava, our immediate goal is to widen the breadth and reach of our programming. These goals can only be achieved with investments from like-minded supporters like you. Because of your personal commitment to innovation within the region, we invite you to join us to support applied STEM education in OC for all students.


Event Partners

Thermo Fisher Scientific - Tagline logo


To serve science, Thermo Fisher Scientific needs to stay ahead of it, we need to anticipate customer needs. We need to constantly think about advancing science, so customers have the freedom to be bolder and more innovative – we are committed to pushing science and technology a step beyond where it is today. To enable our customers to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer

NOCROP-Logo-350 (2)


North Orange County ROP has been preparing students for college and careers since 1971. In collaboration with five school districts, local colleges and universities, as well as community business and workforce development, ROP provides accredited and articulated career technical education (CTE) courses which lead to post-secondary education and employment. ROP engages students with rigorous and relevant instruction via industry-experienced instructors and work-based learning at nearly 500 businesses throughout Orange County. ROP career pathway programs serve over 16,000 students annually at 30 school sites. North Orange County ROP is an equal opportunity educator/employer.

Coastline ROP Logo


Coastline ROP specializes in career technical education that prepares students for colleges and careers, and builds a pipeline of workforce talent for regional businesses. As a career technical education provider, Coastline ROP partners with five school districts in Orange County, CA. Our programs focus on career technical skills, industry-specific skills, and the necessary personal and professional skills to prepare our students for future academic success and/or a career. Our business partners benefit by tapping into the talents of our students through internships and other innovative work-based learning opportunities that build industry interest and the next generation of workers.

CCA Logo


College and Career Advantage (CCA) is a JPA Regional Occupational Program serving Capistrano and Laguna Beach Unified School District students. Located in South Orange County, CA, CCA has provided relevant and engaging career technical education (CTE) for over 50 years. We provide over 20 career pathways leading to secondary education, certifications and the workforce.

vital link logo transparent

Vital Link inspires students to find their dream careers. We serve as a business/education facilitator serving Orange County schools, ROPs, colleges and universities. The organization serves as a resource of quality support services to career and technical educators, thereby providing current, relevant and meaningful information to all students. The organization provides schools with curriculum support services and teacher training that focuses on real-world applications addressing entry-level skills requirements. Opportunities are created for youth to access business professionals as role models to enhance their career opportunities. Vital Link provides access to work based experiences and entry-level jobs that support their career choice.

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