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October 2017

Newly Minted Ph.D. Enters Industry

Newly Minted Ph.D. Enters Industry

News Article by Chris Farrar, Ph.D., Research Scientist I at Vertex Pharmaceuticals

I was fortunate enough to be offered a scientist position in industry before I finished my Ph.D. Looking back on my experiences in graduate school, I think that a major reason that I was able to take advantage of the career opportunities presented to me was because of the preparation that I received as a member of the URBEST program.

Know When to Change Directions

Know When to Change Directions

Career Story by Candice Harder, PhD, Associate Study Director of Genetic Engineering Technologies at The Jackson Laboratory

I was a postdoc at The Jackson Laboratory (JAX) for only about 18 months. Into the second year of my training, I decided I did not want to stay in academia and become a principal investigator.  I immediately began to consider the next move in my career.  In addition to its research department, the JAX sells mice for use in scientific research.  Because my husband Jeff was still working as a postdoc, I started reviewing job postings at JAX.    

Invest in Your Interests

Invest in Your Interests

Career Story by Jeffrey Harder, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow at The Jackson Laboratory

In 2006, I made a big career change.  I left a great job, where I helped run a small business, to become a graduate student in biomedical research.  In truth, the job had been a detour.  After undergrad I was to be a research assistant in a biology lab.  The summer before I started in the lab, I wrote custom software for a friend’s business.  By summer’s end, I went all-in with the business. The job wasn’t for me and five years later I needed a career change.  After this unusual start, I have really enjoyed my career in biomedical research.  However, working outside of academia I learned a couple things about my work life that are important to my happiness and career development. 

Fitting (Pounding) a Square Peg into a Round Hole: My Transition from Commercial Manufacturing to Academia

Fitting (Pounding) a Square Peg into a Round Hole: My Transition from Commercial Manufacturing to Academia

Career Story by Rick Lawless, Director of Industry Programs at NC State University, previously Sr. Director of Manufacturing at Wyeth Vaccines (now Pfizer)

In the early 1980s, the goal of almost every college student was to graduate and go to medical school.  I was a little different – it was dental school for me.  Since the University of Michigan had no pre-dentistry major, I had to declare a real major.  I chose microbiology (Good Choice #1) because the mouth is full of microbes.  Around that time, biotechnology was getting lots of press and the demand for graduates with genetic engineering skills was growing.  All that sounded pretty exciting to me – much more than dentistry, so I dropped the dream of drilling teeth and immersed myself in biotechnology (Good Choice #2).  Unfortunately, I found bench science boring.  Chemical engineering caught my eye.  Having progressed far into the microbiology program, I stayed with the micro major and added a second major with a concentration in biochemical engineering.  After 6 years of undergraduate studies, okay grades, and no money, I needed to get a job. 

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