In the exacting world of chemical analysis, soft-spoken chemist Annie Dookhan — or “Little Annie” as she was sometimes called — was a dream employee.
Consider her performance at the vaccine manufacturer where she worked for nearly two years before taking a job at the state drug lab. Most days, Dookhan arrived at work in the dawn’s dim light. When her boss left in the evening, her small frame was still hunched over the bench performing tests. She leapt at overtime hours and routinely got results in a fraction of the time it took others. What’s more, she was smart. Dookhan said she was working on a master’s degree, and just one year later announced that she had completed the work for a doctorate from Harvard University. A banner reading, “Congratulations, Annie,” went up on a cabinet.