Gabby Everett: “It took me a failing class to realize my potential”

One experience decided her life. Gabby Everett, Ph.D., Site Director at Biolabs, decided she wanted to pursue a career in biotechnology when she was in 9th grade. With her AP Biology class, she was taken on a field trip to Texas A&M and got the opportunity to pipette DNA and load an agarose gel. This was the first time she held a pipette and it fascinated her. During this moment, she realized that she wanted to do this for the rest of her life. 

Since she was young, Gabby has known that she wanted to do something related to science. She always loved reading about science and was very curious about it. She was also raised in an environment to continuously be curious and keep learning new things. Whenever she was curious about something, her parents would encourage her to learn more by taking her to the library to pick out some books related to what she wanted to learn more about. When she started middle school, she got into a Gifted and Talented program where it was very science-focused. She had started to grow an interest in small microscopic processes such as cellular functions and later got interested in genetics. When she decided to take AP Biology in high school, she was allowed to pipette DNA at Texas A&M which changed her life and her career outlook forever. That was the moment that she realized what she wanted to do for her career. 

Although she realized what she wanted to do during high school, she realized her “why” a bit later. Her grandmother, who was a rock and support throughout her life, had contracted an MRSA infection that nearly killed her. Being the curious person she is, she did lots of research about this and learned that she wanted to go into bacteriophage research because she didn’t want anyone else to lose a loved one because of an infection such as the one her grandmother contracted. 

Because Gabby’s love for biology started at Texas A&M, she decided to go back there to pursue her passion. Once in college, she spent a lot of time with friends and doing things that didn’t really help her focus on her career. A few semesters into college, she took a quantitative analysis course that was really hard. She struggled a lot to understand the topics and did not get the necessary help to succeed. She did not put in the effort required and ended up failing the class. This was the moment she realized the extent of her choices and the impact those choices were going to have on her career. It was the first class she ever failed and this caused her to reflect on what she had done so far in her college life. It was at this moment that she realized that she either needed to get her focus together or she wouldn’t be able to pursue her dreams. She reassessed her friend group and instead of spending time socializing, she went to coffee shops with new peers to study together. She worked super hard in all her classes and picked herself up after a rough start. She knew that the only way to pursue her dreams is hard work and that there is no shortcut to success. After her failure, she got straight A’s in the last 60 hours of her undergraduate degree. After this experience, she realized what her potential really is and what she can achieve if she just put her mind to it. 

Gabby continued to pursue her dream by completing her Ph.D. in the Biochemistry and Biophysics Department at Texas A&M. She is an author of about 50 publications and moved into probiotics after her education. In industry, she was an inventor on 7 granted patents and 8 pending patents. Around the same time, her grandmother, who survived the MRSA infection, was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had to go through intense chemotherapy sessions. Gabby soon realized that chemotherapy is bad for gut health and she felt that through her work and education, she was able to help her grandmother and suggest probiotics for her. Because of this, she felt a purpose in her work and felt like she really achieved her dream. 

Gabby currently works at BioLabs, a biotech incubator that leases lab space to startup companies that are not yet able to afford their own space. One company that is currently residing with BioLabs is working on a treatment for triple-negative breast cancer, the same cancer that took her grandmother. Although she, unfortunately, lost her grandmother to cancer, she feels that she can help prevent another person from losing a loved one as she helps this company with whatever they need.

Apart from her professional work and following her dreams to help medicine and life, Gabby makes sure that every interaction she makes with a person is helpful to them in some way possible. Even if it means that she just put a smile on that person’s face. She believes in the quote:  “I shall pass this way but once; any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being; let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” by Etienne de Grellet. The interaction at Texas A&M with her AP Biology class in high school completely changed her life. Whether the professor at that time knew it or not, it was at that moment that she realized what she wanted to do. Now that she is pursuing the career, she does whatever she can to help anyone and maybe change their life in a way she may never know, just as that professor did to her. 

I have known Gabby for about 6 months now and I first met her at the beginning of January. During my junior year of high school, I was a part of a class called ISM (Independent Study and Mentorship) in which we do intensive research on a career path that we are interested in or just curious about. As I was looking for professionals to speak to and emailing companies, Gabby reached out to me (after I reached out to BioLabs) and said that she would love to speak with me and do whatever she needs to help me in my ISM research. She was willing to give me a tour of BioLabs, answer questions, or do whatever she needed. After speaking with her once, I decided to ask her to be my mentor for the rest of the school year. She helped me so much and when I interviewed her for this blog post, I found out so much more about her than I ever knew. Her story inspired me so much and taught me to just keep persevering. Her story showed me that it is never too late to pick yourself up and start over. No matter when you start or how you start, all that matters is that you started and that you are going to continue it. All of Gabby’s experiences are so valuable and experiences that everyone can learn from. 

It is never too late to do anything, as long as you start at some point

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