Purpose At Work: How Amgen Builds Scientific Literacy To Grow Its Business And Positive Impact

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Simon Mainwaring, Forbes

This is the sixth post in a series of interviews with impact-driven corporate leaders. Interviews were conducted around the Los Angeles Social Innovation Summit. At the Summit, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, purposeful brand owners, and individuals gather to share challenges and breakthroughs in the social good space. For this article, I spoke with Eduardo Cetlin, President of the Amgen Foundation.

Amgen is one of the world’s largest biopharmaceutical companies. With over 40 years in the business, Amgen’s mission is “to serve patients.” One of the ways Amgen serves is by democratizing science education and literacy.

“We are reliant on a highly skilled workforce. We’re also reliant on a scientific-literate society,” Cetlin tells We First. The Amgen Foundationworks in these areas to provide innovative educational opportunities.

“The way kids experience school today is very similar to about a hundred years ago. Typically, teachers talk and students listen,” Cetlin says. “Kids say they like science, but they think science class is boring. Unless we engage and create opportunities for them to become active learners in the classroom, we’ll be in trouble as a broader society.”

What’s more, teachers often lack the resources and support they need to effectively teach students science.

“In a great book called Most Likely to Succeed the authors share a valuable analogy: if we were to think about how you teach a child to ride a bicycle in a classroom, this is what we’re going to do. We spend one week on the history of the bicycle, another talking about all the individual parts of the bicycle. Then you watch some videos. Then, if you are lucky, you will learn about balance in a physics class. Finally, I’m going to give you a diploma, and I expect you to ride your bike out of here,” Cetlin shares.