Fireside Hall, Contra Costa College, 2600 Mission Bell Dr, San Pablo, CA 94806 12:30-1:30PM

Contra Costa College Workforce Wednesday: Biotechnology

Join Contra Costa College as we welcome Contra Costa College Biotechnology employers, faculty, student and alumni to a discussion about their program and career experiences. Learn about career options and explore if this pathway may allow you to achieve your goals.

Video of event
Workforce Wednesday Flyer

Amazing Panelists!

Dr Khanna
Ms. Thomas
Dr Pastore
Mr Hendrickson

Rajnish Khanna, M.Sc. Ph.D., is founder and Chief Executive Officer of i-Cultiver, Inc. and TerreLocal, Senior Investigator at Plant Biology, Carnegie Institution for Science at Stanford University, and Science Advisor at The Chopra Foundation. Rajnish is a strategic biotechnology consultant, plant and soil health scientist applying multidisciplinary approaches for research and development. Known for empowering the industry through strategic partnerships with academic institutions, facilitating technology transfer into real world applications, and deploying advanced technologies such as CLASlite, a unique software to quantify and monitor crop and tree health at global scale for agro-eco projects. Rajnish is the host of TerreScience podcast/YouTube channel focused on soil and planetary health. For a full bio, visit

Andria Thomas was hired by BioMarin via Pro Unlimited in 2019 as a Manufacturing Associate temp contracted to BioMarin in their cell culture department while simultaneously attending a full-time bachelor’s degree program at Solano Community College. Andria obtained her Bachelor of Science in Biomanufacturing in 2020 and was later converted to a full-time employee. She transitioned to Purification where she is team lead for the BioMarin Manufacturing Engagement & Communication Team. Andria is passionate about advocating for community college students to be recognized for their value, ability and place within the STEM and life sciences community and is a firm believer in giving back to her community and fellow students. She currently serves on the Contra Costa Community College Biotechnology Advisory Board and is a member of the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE). As a member of the ISPE San Francisco Bay Area Chapter, Andria has been actively involved with the Emerging Leaders Committee where she has acted as both mentor for young professionals and community college student advocate. She is currently working with Solano Community College students as their Industry Advisor to re- establish the Solano Community College ISPE Chapter and recently received the honor of being elected to the board for the ISPE San Francisco Bay Area Chapter where she serves as the Commuter Conference Chair.

Mayra B. Pastore, Ph.D. graduated with a B.S. in Biochemistry from San Francisco State University. She continued her studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she earned her doctorate degree in endocrinology. Her scientific work continued at UCSF where she focused on the role of hormones in fatty liver diseases. She is currently working at AstraZeneca as a medical science liaison (MSL) supporting two new products: one targets systemic lupus and the other prevents severe Covid-19 infection in immunocompromised patients. As MSL, Dr. Pastore can connect, educate, and facilitate collaborations with researchers, community physicians and other healthcare professionals, keeping in sharp focus the benefit to patients. Dr. Pastore arrived at the U.S. with her mother when she was 13 years old after joining her father who left El Salvador during the mid 1980s. She lived in San Pablo for several years and is an alum of John F. Kennedy High school and Contra Costa College. She lives with her two children, husband, dog (Peter) and two kittens (Bandit and Echo). She enjoys teaching weight training, cycling and MMA cardio classes.

Drew Hendrickson is a Filipino-American gay scientist working in Microbial Ecology. He received his Bachelor’s degrees from UC Berkeley in Chemical Biology and Microbial Biology with Honors. During this time, Drew researched the bioremediation potential for plant-growth-promoting soil- bacteria to degrade petroleum hydrocarbons, for which he received his department’s grant for student-initiated projects. Drew then joined the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab from 2019-2021 to develop a framework for mechanistic-microbial ecology in a subsurface watershed contaminated with nuclear waste from the Manhattan Project. His expertise is in analytical chemistry, microbial characterization, and next-generation DNA sequencing. In his free time, he loves cultivating bizarre organisms, from orchids and carnivorous plants to bioluminescent microbes and mantids.