Current Job Title:
Lead Research Associate
Charles River Laboratories
Describe your current job:
Some of my roles at CRL include performing autopsies on several animal species in a BSL1 or BSL2 environment. As pathology technicians, we look for abnormalities or effects of the test article on anatomical/physiological systems with the help of a Pathologist. The tissues are then relayed to trimming and histology to be prepared for scientists to analyze.
What is the most rewarding and the most challenging part of your job?
The most rewarding aspect is being part of the crucial procedures for life-saving drug development. Basically, making a difference globally. On the contrary, the most challenging part of this career is the large learning-curves such as performing a technical laboratory procedure in front of a scientist. But at the end of the day, my cohorts and I are all in this together for the learning experience.
Which of your skills had the biggest impact on your success?
You could have the best resume, cover letter, or GPA in college. But without a network, it is nearly impossible to land an internship or employment. There is a big misconception that people will just hand you a job right after college or 'grades are everything.' It is your responsibility to put yourself out there and reach out to people. I went through numerous interviews and applications until I was able to get this job. One of the study directors at Charles River Laboratories was actually in my pathology class and I was able to talk to her. So my advice to fellow Broncos, know how to connect or create networks. Do not isolate yourself in lectures or presentations because you will never know who you bump into. A simple, 'hello' to someone you do not know makes a big difference. Nonetheless, remember to use the free career resources on campus to supplement your job interview skills.
What advice do you have for students looking for their career after college?
Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question. However, I can shed some light. It is okay if you have not figured out what you want to do in college or after college. Everyone's situation is different. To some students, their career path has already been chosen during the start of college. To others, such as I, figured 'some' of it out during the last semester of my senior year. Your Bachelor's experience is supposed to help you figure out your career pathway. This time frame between Bachelor's and higher education, whether it is graduate school, medical school, or what have you is the perfect opportunity to gain inspiration and experience. These opportunities could be traveling such as Peace Corps, receiving clinical hours for pre-medical students, teaching, or work in a laboratory setting. Whatever it is, just be sure it is relevant or significant to your career pathway and don't get lost along the way. My last piece of advice which I am quoting from a famous hip-hop artist from Detroit, Michigan, 'Prove it to them or you prove it to yourself but honestly, it's better if you do it for yourself.' I carry this quote with me everywhere I go.