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“Careers in Industry” – An Associate Member Workshop

By Kathryn Polkoff

CMI Associate Members hosted a workshop, June 19, 2019, on Careers in Industry. As PhD students and post-docs, we see academia from start to finish–and generally have a solid grasp of what it would be like to have a career in academia. But there is a whole other world of jobs available to us in (dare I say it?)—industry. Industry offers a plethora of engaging, exciting careers in biomedical sciences that many of the associate members will pursue, but we have very little understanding of what it actually means to work in industry. What types of jobs are available for people with PhDs? What does the day-to-day work look like? What opportunities are there for advancement? What is the job market like right now?

To answer these questions, the CMI Associate Members partnered with Dr. Joe Aldinger, the director of NC State’s Accelerate to Industry program (A2i). The A2i program helps provide insider insights and opportunities to interact with our industry Partners to prepare PhD students and post-docs for careers in industry. His knowledge of the process made him invaluable to putting together a discussion panels for Biomedical Careers in Industry.

We had three excellent panelists for this discussion from various companies in the area, and each of them gave a unique perspective about how they got their job, what they actually do, and the pros and cons of industry. Dr. Travis Gulledge is a Study Director from Burleson Research Technologies, but was actually one of our own—a past CMI Associate Member who completed his PhD with Dr. Scott Laster at NC State. He shared a recent graduate’s perspective on industry and his story about how and why he wanted to be in industry with his PhD. Dr. Rebecca Davis is a Senior Laboratory Project Services Coordinator at Q2 solutions and gave insightful tips on how to get hired and how to get the job you want. Dr. Jon Volmer is a Senior Director of Research Biology and Innovation at MedPharm and shared his valuable insights from his time in academia, his switch to industry and some great tips about what companies are looking for. At the end of the panel, we also had some time to network and make connections with our panelists in small group and one-on-one discussions. Overall, we came out of the workshop with a great picture of what it could be like to have a biomedical career in industry R&D and how we can use our experiences now to prepare for it.

This workshop was the first arranged by Kathryn Polkoff and could not have been done without the organization by Linda Costine!