“I graduated with my Ph.D. in Chemistry from the Haynes group in May 2016. Through my internship at Boston Scientific, I was hired as a Process Development Engineer after graduation to work on a Boston Scientific-Mayo Ventures project. This position encompasses both research and development of products from early stages through human trials with doctors at the Mayo Clinic.”
Since its inception in 1990, the Biotechnology Training Program at the University of Minnesota has developed its Alumni network. Now 120 graduates strong, the network is available to students seeking jobs, internships, and career planning advice. Our past trainees, of whom the vast majority joined the industrial sector, serve as an informal job referral group for our graduating trainees. Many attended our 2016 Alumni Symposium where the connected with past mentors and current trainees.
A recent survey of former trainees found that graduates of the training program have taken their careers in different directions from the traditional route of academia and research, to branching out in medicine and business (n=77).
In addition to many graduates who find positons in industry, graduates who purse careers in academia also find success. Of the graduates who work in academia, half are now in faculty positions. (n=24)
Each trainee in our program has a review with their advisor or a trainer to assess progress toward the degree and to discuss career aspirations. Additionally, we regularly invite trainee alumni to return and share their experiences in career development and in balancing career and family. The successes of our training grant alumni in their academic and industrial positions serve as the best examples for potential career trajectories in biotechnology for our current trainees.
I obtained my PhD in 2008. Since that time I have been working at Cargill in the Biotechnology Research and Development department. I am a principal biochemist and manage a team of 10 working on an industrial bioproduct produced via fermentation. The NIH Training Grant provided exposure to industrial biotechnology and emphasized the factors that influence the decision making in industry. There was exposure to company objectives, personnel, and industrial research approaches that prepared me for transitioning from academic training into a corporate researcher. I met my hiring manager as a trainee in the grant and I attribute that networking opportunity with my ability to be hired. I currently have two people from the training grant who work in my department and we have had many strong interns over the years that we have acquired through our relationship with the training grant.