Mental Health at Work

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28 Oct 2020

I have Attention deficit disorder, major depressive disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder. When I met the Merck team at the Disability: IN 2019 conference we discussed my studies in biochemistry at a STEM institution in New Jersey, and that I was hoping to join their company. I subsequently secured an internship at Merck to write a critical review paper on the recent advancements of a biomolecular separation methodology used in laboratories for characterization and stability of bio-mixtures such as vaccines.

I was part of a team of intelligent and passionate scientists that knew about my disabilities and were willing to work with me to mitigate any impacts. Unfortunately, I was placed on new medication around this time and as the internship progressed my distractibility became more pronounced. To assist me, my team set me up with time management trackers, gave me extensions, and met with me as much as possible to make sure I was getting the work done. I also joined a support group that included family and business mentors. After various delays and obstacles, I was encouraged to take a step back and focus on my health.

This opportunity helped me learn not only about the science but also about myself. My disabilities are not something I can just dismiss and although I am an intelligent scientist, I realize that I have many obstacles ahead. If you can resonate at all with my struggles, then please know that your mental and physical health comes first and when you’re ready there are a lot of talented and kind people willing to help you as best as they can.


By: Alejandra Lopez-Diaz