Student Profiles

Kevin Wang, LSM '20

Hometown: 
Fullerton, CA
College Major: 
Computational Biology
Wharton Concentrations: 
Healthcare Management

On LSM:

Counter to the stereotypes of “cutthroat” pre-meds and overly-competitive business students, the LSM community is incredibly supportive of one another. Upperclassmen freely share advice and take a genuine interest in the success / wellbeing of their younger peers; students from the same class often study together and collaborate on extracurricular activities. A culture of success fortified with mutual respect, support, and friendship—I don’t think there’s a better community than that!

What kind of internship work have you done?

I had the wonderful opportunity of working with the Penn-Novartis Center for Advanced Cellular Therapeutics (CACT) here on campus. Penn is at the forefront of cancer immunotherapy and I am truly grateful that I was able to play a small role in the transformative research conducted here. This summer, the team received unanimous FDA approval for CTL019 CAR-T cell therapy—making it the first-ever genetically-engineered treatment to be approved!

As someone with a computer science background, I spent the summer designing and modifying databases to improve data analysis of the manufacturing process. As the school year begins, I am excited to lead validation tests of new machinery to determine whether it streamlines production.

What was the most valuable part of your internship experience?

The most rewarding part is being in the front lines, watching as a therapy developed right here at Penn is commercialized and used to save patient lives. Working in CACT, I often meet patients who come visit Dr. Levin and the team to thank them for their hard work. It’s humbling to see how powerful an idea has become: what initially seemed like a researcher’s pipe dream is now a source of renewed hope for patients with relapsed cancer. I’ve always wanted to delve into entrepreneurship, so I appreciate seeing late-stage drug development first-hand and working alongside researchers that I greatly respect.

What extracurricular activities do you do at Penn?

One club that I’m very proud to be a part of is Penn Social Enterprise Movement (PennSEM). Instead of just maximizing value generated for shareholders like traditional businesses, the second goal of social enterprise is to also improve social and environmental conditions. For instance, the Aravind Eye Hospitals in India (the world’s largest eye-care provider) use profits from wealthier patients to subsidize procedures for other patients that cannot afford healthcare.

As part of PennSEM’s consulting branch, I’ve worked for Candriam (a European investment firm seeking to expand its responsible investment program into the US) and Schmear It (a local bagel truck that donates part of its proceeds to Philadelphia charities). People occasionally ask me which project was more valuable. My answer: have you tried Schmear It’s loxsmith bagel?