Job Title: Scientist
Type of Company: My company makes products for life science research and clinical diagnostics.
Education: BS, Chemical Engineering, Rice University Ph.D., Bioengineering, University of Washington
Previous Experience: I worked at a large research university managing a lab and performing independent research. I then moved into industry and did technical support work before switching to project management and research.
Job Tasks: My responsibilities include the design and execution aspects of the development of new products for biotechnology education. I design the components and protocols, write the instruction manuals, work with the manufacturing engineers to develop quality control and manufacturing processes and support the product once it is launched. As part of my responsibilities, I also manage the progress of the project by overseeing all deadlines and working closely with our manufacturing and marketing teams. I also am responsible for helping out at workshops we run to train teachers on how to use our kits. We usually run between 5-8 workshops each year at major educational conferences and it is my responsibility to have all of the reagents prepared for the educators to use and to answer any questions that they have.
There is no typical day for me. Some days I am working on my newest project and other days I am helping solve problems that have arisen in our current projects. Other days I am working with graphic designers to come up with catchy images for bulletins and catalogs.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is working with educators and trying to develop kits that will help them in teaching their classes. We get many of our ideas for new kits from teachers and also learn a lot from them about what issues they have in teaching concepts to students.
The worst part of the job is the project management. I have to try and work with my colleagues to meet deadlines, but have no job authority over them and no control over the priorities their bosses have set for them.
Job Tips: Get a real breadth of knowledge rather than becoming extremely specialized. I have had to have in-depth knowledge of engineering, molecular biology, organic chemistry and other fields. Many times, as you pursue advanced academics, you get more and more specialized and this only allows you to work in a very specified area. It is possible to maintain breadth and the ability to learn new fields quickly and this is key for this career.
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