When Tracey Stevens (PharBE ’12) learned of the UW PharBE program, she saw it as an opportunity to advance her career. “I was a scientist at Amgen striving to advance through the scientific tree,” she said. “Pursuing this advanced degree kind of springboarded me to the senior scientist level, which is really important because at that level you are managing projects and people.”
Tracey joined bluebird bio, a gene therapy company based in Massachusetts, in 2017 and is now director of site operations at bluebird’s Seattle research facility. Her science background and her experience as a scientist at Amgen helps her to better understand the scientist’s needs at bluebird. She is currently on the global return-to-work team, which is focused on maintaining business continuity while reopening safely after the COVID-19 pandemic. As the Seattle site continues to grow, Tracey is looking at innovative ways to optimize bluebird’s laboratory space so that it continues to be state-of-the-art flexible to allow for different types of research. “It’s interesting and incredibly rewarding to give the scientists everything they need to be successful,” she said.
Being one of the only women on the bluebird leadership team in Seattle, Tracey has a strong connection to all the women who work there. “My position shows them what they can do. This is a path you can take.” – Tracey Stevens
Being one of the only women on the bluebird leadership team in Seattle, Tracey has a strong connection to all the women who work there. “My position shows them what they can do,” she said. “This is a path you can take.” She enjoys mentoring and advocating for the junior staff.
When asked what her favorite cell is, Tracey shared she has always been fascinated by natural killer (NK) cells. “Their job is to kill tumor cells and cells infected by viruses or other microbes to control infection and prevent tissue damage,” she said. “NK cells play a critical role in recognizing cells infected with pathogens.”
Outside of work, one of Tracey’s passions is rescuing discarded orchids that other people have given up on. “I am very patient, and one of the plants I rescued bloomed 10 years after I started caring for it,” she said proudly.