I started working just a couple of days after finishing up the semester at school. I took up temp work for the holidays at the pharma company where I completed my internship. My schedule is a bit longer, albeit that I have no homework or studying to do when I come home. It’s really great working there, making some extra money, but I’m beat! I find that I don’t have much desire to write after perusing some science articles and reading some random, strange things on the internet (I can get lost!). So lets say this post is just to let you know I’m here, gathering up my energy. I think I’ll do something I seldomly do but requires no energy or thought – T.V.


I <3 Beaker


Ever have these kind of days in the lab?? Beaker was the greatest muppet!

A few months ago I attended a local, professional conference. I went dressed to impress, prepared with business cards and a smile. I sincerely enjoy meeting and communicating with people so I never feel that I am being false or manipulative by chatting with people at these conferences, but my main objective is to meet people that I can make a connection with, either for job prospects or career advice. Interestingly, I was the only student at a conference of about 100 people.

Today I received a phone call from a man that I met at the conference. I’m terrible with names but I actually remembered this guy because we have a mutual acquaintance and he works for a small but interesting biopharmaceutical company very nearby. At the conference we held a decent conversation after which I handed him my card (never underestimate the powers of having a business card, even as a student!). I let him know that I graduate in May and will be looking for work.

As you can imagine, I was super stoked when he let me know that they have a couple positions at my level that will be opening up in the next few months. He asked me to submit my resume and let him know so that he could have it pushed to the top. It’s likely I’ll get interviewed for this job and, luckily, I rely more on my articulation and communication skills than my resume to show my potential as an employee. My resume doesn’t suck, but it’s not breathtaking either. I’m a student. I don’t have much industry experience. It’s to be expected.

I’m really excited about this opportunity. Unfortunately, I can’t give a lot of details because the last blogging incident left a bad taste in my mouth. All I can say is that the position involves processing stem cells used in clinical trials, the kind of stuff you do in a cleanroom. Being that it’s a small company (fewer than 30 employees), I would have plenty of opportunity to learn new skills and it is likely that I would assume various roles. I also kind of like the idea of growing with a company from the beginning. Anyway, nothing’s in the bag but I’m optimistic. This sounds like my kind of gig.

I went to Colombia over the summer and I was just reminiscing about how much fun I had. I’m afraid of heights, yet I gave paragliding a whirl. That’s me in the air. It was truly amazing. I was dying of anxiety before take-off but once the wind lifts you in the air, all the fear is lifted with it. It’s different than I imagined. You feel weightless rather than out of control (as you might during a free-fall). We were able to fly over Medellin for a total of 50 minutes! On a nice day, you can stay in the air almost indefinitely. Once I had my share of enjoying the vista, we made several attempts at landing but were finally able to come right back to the spot at which we took off. The best part is that it only cost me US$35!

I’m already dreaming of my next vacation. Does anyone have any ideas for European travel on a student’s budget?

I’ve been hyping my 8 year old son for the 3rd grade spelling bee. He seemed really enthused about the prospect of spelling bee fame and glory, including a trip to Washington, D.C. for the national spelling bee. We’ve occasionally been practicing for fun in the car. Well, today was the first of a series of eliminations. He participated in the class spelling bee for a chance to compete against the winners of all the other 3rd grade classes.

You can imagine the dismay he felt as he got in the car this afternoon and broke the news of his defeat. He started crying. Aww… I felt really bad for him. I’ll never forget when I was 7 and lost the spelling bee because I forgot to say the “u” in beautiful. Of course I had to ask what word led to his loss… Jeans. Jeans? Seriously? (at least that’s what my mind responded). I was shocked because he’s always been an avid reader with an expansive vocabulary. Well, let’s just say the kid’s too damn smart for his own good. Being that he is my little junior scientist, he automatically thought of the word “genes”. Apparently, he was too far from the teacher to hear the definition and did not ask her to repeat herself because the homophone “jeans” had not even occurred to him (perhaps it was too elementary for his mind? ha ha). Go figure.

You know, I certainly share his frustration. He is capable of spelling far more difficult words yet he did not even make it past the class competition. Oh well. All I could do was tell him I understood his frustration and encourage him to prepare for next year. I bet he won’t make that mistake again.

I went to visit family in Miami for Thanksgiving. It was great. I got a chance to relax and have fun. I have to admit, I didn’t crack a book in the four days I was away. =S

I really enjoy cityscape/landscape photography. Miami is a great place to do that. Here is a  collection of photographs I took on my vacation. They include some nightlife shots, too.  Enjoy!

Busy Bee


I figured I’d write just a few words to stay in the habit of it… It’s so damn easy to get inundated by everything else in life and let the poor blog go to shit. I had a calculus test this morning, an informational interview at [Insert Name Here] pharmaceutical company (which went fantastic, by the way), a research presentation tomorrow (with no data because I’ve been troubleshooting a UPLC/MS that keeps going down for the last 15 weeks), and final exams next week. Whew! I’m exhausted!

Oh, if there are any students out there reading this blog, I want to share a little wisdom that has been handed down to me. About the informational interview, it’s such great advice! I don’t think people promote them enough. One thing is for sure – only uploading your resume to a database will NOT get you a job. The chances are reeeeaaally slim. You really have to get out there, meet people, and show initiative. Particularly in this economy, being smart and skilled just isn’t enough! It’s really competitive out there. Professionals that are hiring want to know that you can do the job right AND that they aren’t going to get sick of working with your ass in close quarters.

So anyway, my last informational interview was with a pharma engineering consultant. He’s the director of operations for his company in this state. I met him at a conference (another must-do to meet people). He liked my enthusiasm I suppose because he offered me a co-op for the coming semester to get me some experience and help me with my job search. The one yesterday was great because I interviewed the director of manufacturing sciences and he asked me for my resume at the end, which of course I came prepared with. He’s worked at a couple other major pharma companies and knows lots of people with hiring power. His company isn’t hiring so he is personally going to send it to some of his contacts. Yay!

Not only does the informational interview open the door for new opportunities but if you interview the right people, there is a lot of guidance and advice to be taken. Both have given me great insight into how I will focus my career plans. The great thing is that although these people are VERY busy, they are happy to squeeze in 30-45 mins to help out a student looking to get into the business. I think most of them recall being in the same position before and can sympathize. Not to mention that you can create a favorable and longer-lasting impression than just going to a job fair. Anyway, just thought I would share that. It’s been of tremendous help to me and I truly believe that it’s the type of networking that will help land me a great job next summer.