Fellowship Sponsor Company: Merck (Rutgers)
Function/Discipline: Global Regulatory Affairs
Fellowship Years: 2017-2019
Alma Mater: Howard University, Class of 2017
Throughout pharmacy school, I gained work experience in both the retail and hospital settings, and I knew that the “traditional roles” of pharmacy practice were not the best fit for me. I wanted to position myself to do more. During my second year in pharmacy school, I was given the opportunity to work with a team of colleagues to develop a multidisciplinary initiative that targeted the homeless population of Washington, DC. As I worked on the project, I recognized how much I enjoyed working with individuals with unique areas of expertise in order to create something innovative that provided a major positive impact to underserved communities. This experience inspired me to pursue post-doctoral opportunities that would allow me to work in a similar environment. Soon after the initiative, a Howard University alumnus and Rutgers Fellow came to speak to us regarding the various roles for pharmacists within the pharmaceutical industry. As he discussed the details of the various positions within several functional areas, I was reminded of the role I played in the homeless outreach initiative. After his presentation, I decided that I was going to pursue a position in the pharmaceutical industry.
Company: Halozyme Therapeutics
Current Role: CMC Specialist, Regulatory Affairs
Alma Mater: Touro University, California, Class of 2016
In 2011, my 12-year career as a microbiologist for the largest brewing company in the Pacific Northwest unknowingly came to an abrupt end. Changes in the small company I joined in 1999 that had a top 10 national ranking in 2016, manifested in layoffs. As the layoffs gathered momentum, it was my signal to leave and begin a year long process looking at alternative career options where I could leverage my 12-years of service in aseptic manufacturing. I had spent my career focused in the life sciences after graduating from the University of California Santa Cruz. I was 42 years old and married for 8 years to a PhD scientist who had been employed as a MSL in the pharmaceutical industry since 2003. My sister-in-law, a PhD clinician, was also employed as a MSL. After numerous discussions with family members, I began to explore the application process to pharmacy school in the fall of 2011 and fully consider the prospect of earning a PharmD degree. Ultimately, I considered a doctoral degree in pharmacy as the best opportunity to leverage my 20-years of experience in healthcare and aseptic manufacturing. I believed the best fit for my unconventional background was the School of Pharmacy at Touro University California.
Fellowship Sponsor Company: Takeda Oncology (MCPHS)
Function/Discipline: Global Medical Affairs, Medical Science Liaison
Fellowship Years: 2017-2018
Alma Mater: Fairleigh Dickinson University, Class of 2017
I am eager to learn, develop, and implement healthcare strategies and educational tools to improve peoples’ health and their quality of life. Prior to pharmacy school I earned a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Food Science from Southern Utah University. Upon graduation, I had the opportunity to teach low-income families and individuals the basics of food budgeting, safety and preparation. Later, I worked as a pharmaceutical compounder, using my food science skills to develop individualized medicine. In both of these roles, I greatly enjoyed being able to make a difference in peoples’ lives. I decided that I wanted to be part of a team that truly makes a difference in the lives of patients’ and their families on a global level. I returned to school to obtain a PharmD degree and pursue a career in the pharmaceutical industry.
Fellowship Sponsor Company: Takeda Pharmaceuticals (Purdue)
Function/Discipline: Global Regulatory Affairs – Strategy
Fellowship Years: 2016-2018
Alma Mater: Purdue University, Class of 2016
I had every intention of becoming a community pharmacist in my small hometown of Francesville, Indiana. However, after spending 4 years in the retail setting, I realized I did not feel as challenged or fulfilled as I hoped. Thus, I began to look at other opportunities outside of traditional hospital and community pharmacy. My curiosity led me to many presentations and discussions at Purdue with pharmacists and leaders in the pharmaceutical industry. It was here I learned that an industry pharmacist can be highly involved in developing and promoting access to new medications for patients all over the world. This was the challenging career that I was looking for.
Fellowship Sponsor Company: Merck
Function/Discipline: Clinical Safety and Risk Management
Fellowship Years: 2017-2019
Alma Mater: University of Maryland, Baltimore, Class of 2017
My choice to pursue pharmacy and the pharmaceutical industry never really surprised me. Even in undergraduate school, I was a biology major looking into entering public health instead of joining everyone in pre-med. I suppose it was my unique experiences and perspective in health care that influenced me to be where I am today.
Fellowship Sponsor Company: Entrée Health (Omnicom Health Group)
Function/Discipline: Market Access
Fellowship Years: 2017-2019
Alma Mater: Rutgers University, Class of 2017
“You went to pharmacy school…to do marketing?” a good friend asked me (with a very confused expression) when I announced my decision to join a fellowship program offered by Omnicom Health Group. That was the first of many times I would hear that question since accepting the offer.
Company and Department: Amgen, Regulatory Promotion Compliance
Current Role: Senior Associate Reviewer
Alma Mater: Temple University, Class of 2017
I have heard countless times how important networking is, but I did not truly understand its value until it helped me land my first job in industry.
Like many student pharmacists, my interest in the pharmaceutical industry as an alternative to traditional pharmacist roles was strong, but my knowledge of what one can do in industry was lacking. Therefore, in my first year at Temple University School of Pharmacy, I co-founded our chapter of IPhO. This was in an effort to increase my classmates, and my own, understanding of the avenues that were available to us in industry upon graduation. We gained valuable insight from each speaker that came in, and we learned some of the nuances of each position, from regulatory to medical affairs, to marketing and much more.
I put on my jacket and immediately my shoulders went back and I stood up straight.
I think I need to practice in my suit. I feel more “on” when I do.
These comments, from participants in a recent class on presentation skills, demonstrate that your clothing choices can help you to project confidence and to come across as a credible person – one your audience wants to listen to. Yet attire is one of those little things that presenters often don’t think about, or plan.
Fellowship Sponsor Company: Novo Nordisk
Function/Discipline: Medical Affairs and Strategy
Fellowship Years: 2016-2017
Alma Mater: University of Florida College of Pharmacy, Class of 2016
“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
Pharma has a funny way of drawing people in, including those who did not necessarily ever intend to move in that direction. One of the best traits a PharmD student/grad can acquire is to always, even if you know exactly what you want to do with the rest of your life, always bring an inquisitive mindset to every encounter and be bold by initiating conversation, whether it is with a CEO or a junior level person. You never know where it might lead, and for me, it led me to completely redirecting my career.