Current Position: Global Safety Senior Associate at Amgen, Inc.
Undergraduate Degree: Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering, Syracuse University, 2014
Duke BME Master’s Program Path: Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering, 2014-2016
What work do you do?
I support Global Patient Safety at biopharmaceutical maker Amgen, Inc., as the safety reporting and signal management process subject matter expert for Amgen Digital Health. Most of my projects interrogate real world data to inform and supplement routine and ad hoc pharmaco-vigilance activities here at Amgen, while others center around developing tools to facilitate how patients and health care providers interact with our products.
How did your time at Duke prepare you for your current job?
My time at Duke gave me a greater sense of who I wanted to be as a person, the impact I wanted to make in the world, and how I might go about doing that in a business setting. The problem-solving and leadership skills I developed as a Duke Engineering student have enabled me to head several novel, innovative cross-functional projects, even as an early career professional. I am excited for what lies ahead and am grateful to my professors, colleagues, family members, and friends who helped make this a possibility for me.
What was the most valuable part of your Duke experience?
There is no doubt that I received a world-class education at Duke, but when I look back at my Duke experience, what I remember most fondly is the community I was able to cultivate on campus. I broke bread with some of the greatest young minds from Duke Divinity School, Duke Law School, Duke School of Medicine, Fuqua School of Business, Duke Global Health Institute, Pratt School of Engineering, and Sanford School of Public Policy.
Individually, we were leaders in our respective fields. But collectively, we bonded both intellectually and emotionally in support of one another on a personal level and also on a corporate level, working to effect change at Duke and in the greater Durham neighborhood. Being surrounded by such great leaders and sharing in their journey, celebrating their victories and acknowledging how much they had to overcome to get to where they are today, has been incredibly inspiring.
What were the most useful courses that you took at Duke?
The flexible curriculum for Master of Science (MS) candidates in biomedical engineering at Duke, along with extracurricular learning opportunities, helped me to navigate the field of biotechnology from a global perspective. This perspective was shaped by a number of courses: BME 562 - Biology by Design, where I collaborated with a team of my peers on a mock NIH grant proposal for a novel cancer biologic; MOLCAN 819 - Cancer as a Disease, where I stepped out of the arena of biomedical research to appreciate a patient-centric approach to the study of cancer; BME 577 - Drug Transport Analysis, where I was challenged to be the subject matter expert for the class on a drug delivery method; BME 791 - Independent Study, where I took ownership of a research project in one of Duke's cutting-edge laboratories, and PHARM 835 - Innovations in Drug Development, where I learned about what it takes to get a drug from lead optimization to clinical trials to health care providers and patients and had the opportunity to work with an interdisciplinary team on a mock FDA proposal for a novel gene-based therapeutic.
In addition to these courses, I was also afforded a unique opportunity to participate in the Duke IHI Quality Scholars Program (QISP). This program, a collaborative effort with Duke Health, was completely outside of my comfort zone, and for that reason it really pushed me to demonstrate leadership and to cultivate interdisciplinary strategy. As this project was based in Duke University Hospital, I was able to leverage my skillset as a biomedical engineer to contribute to a change initiative that identified pain points in hospital workflows and ultimately sought to improve the patient experience. This exposure has been a cornerstone for my transition from student researcher to biotechnology professional.
What advice would you give to someone considering a master’s degree in BME at Duke?
The 1.5 to 2 years it takes to complete your master's degree at Duke will fly by, so you really want to make the most of your time. Take advantage of the endless academic resources, build relationships with your professors and department admins, join a lab, spend time with your peers outside of your class and research hours, challenge yourself to do something outside of the norm.