Don B. Huntley College of Agriculture

Students Contribute to Coronavirus Fight

Published Date: Aug 10, 2020 4:07:00 PM

Two Huntley College of Agriculture students are doing their parts in the battle against the coronavirus.

Stephanie Servano, a food science and technology major, and Mandy Chen, a senior in apparel merchandising and management, are working at companies that producing essential products.

A Pomona native who transferred to Cal Poly Pomona from Citrus College, Servano works at the biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences, which is researching whether an antiviral drug, remdesivir, can be used as a treatment for coronavirus.

Servano is a quality assurance inspector who reviews products before final release. She splits her work time between her Rancho Cucamonga home and the Gilead office in La Verne.

“Gilead is doing everything they can to keep us safe on-site and I am not worried about going into work,” she said.

Servano started as an intern at Gilead. She expressed an interest in continuing to work for the company after the internship ended, so Gilead brought her back as a contractor, then hired her as a full-time employee.

“It feels great to work for a company that always puts their patients first,” Servano said. “I love knowing that I can help people.”

After graduating from Cal Poly Pomona, Servano would like to earn a master’s degree in either biotechnology or business.

Meanwhile, Chen is an intern at Nana Atelier, an apparel service manufacturer that has shifted gears to produce facemasks for essential businesses.

“The masks are nonmedical, so they are encouraged for use by essential businesses so that medical workers have more access to medically-graded equipment,” said Chen, a transfer student who will be a senior this fall in apparel merchandising and management, production option .

Nana Atelier accepts orders for masks and distributes the work to local factories and manufacturers it partners with so they can stay in business and pay their vulnerable workers. Customers can purchase masks at

Chen worked on the copy and marketing for the initiative. The internship has immersed her in the factory and production side of the apparel industry.

“However, what sets this experience apart is that my boss dedicates her efforts to being a fair-wage and ethical factory that ensures paying her workers full benefits and a livable wage, especially for Los Angeles,” she said.

Chen hopes to work with a company that helps bring ethical and sustainability practices to the fashion industry and also do peer-reviewed industry research, which apparel students don’t have access to currently.