Author: Rita Oluwaseun | Category: Career Development | GSBS Alumni | Biomedical Engineering (Ph.D.) | April 13, 2016
Tell me about yourself. How did you
get interested in science? What program were you in and why were interested in
I am a second generation Nigerian American. I have lived in Texas my entire life, I was born in Houston,
I moved to San Antonio for school, and I am now
currently living in Dallas
for my new position with Medpace.
I really found an interest in science in my 9th grade
high school biology class. In this class I was really challenged in the
sciences in a way I had never been before. I have always loved a good challenge
and biology truly offered that for me. I was intrigued by the technique,
memorization, practicles, and more that was all involved in the natural
However, mathematics has always been my favorite subject, no matter
what part of the world you are in, numbers are always the same. From young I
struggled with reading and language arts, so it was almost natural for me to
find a love for math. Between my intrigue for the sciences and my passion for
mathematics, biomedical engineering almost “fell in my lap!”
After completing my bachelors in mathematics with a minor in
biology at the University of Texas at San
Antonio. I really wanted to pursue a career that I
could incorporate my love for mathematics and science. After doing further
research into the dual program and professors, I knew I could find my place
again in this masters program. I began
working in the Vascular Biofluids and Biomechanics Laboratory under the
direction of Dr. Ender Finol, where I concentrated on the detection of
abdominal aortic aneurysms. I recently graduated in May 2015 from the University of Texas Health
Science San Antonio and University of Texas
at San Antonio Graduate Dual Biomedical Engineering program.
After months of diligently searching for work, networking, and
much more I began the hiring process for Medpace as a clinical research
associate. I have been working at Medpace for almost a month now and it has
been such a great learning experience so far.
Why did you pick the Graduate School
of Biomedical Sciences at UT Health
How did you learn about us?
I choose the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at UT Health
Science Center because I really loved the dual program and my ability to utilize
the resources at two highly rated universities, their professors, and students.
top research health center offers many research, learning, and growing
opportunities on and off campus through classes, seminars, and conferences.
Being a UTSA alumni, I heard about the program on campus, and
did my own research on specifics of the program. Looking on different internet
sites ratings and credentials, the feedback I obtained more knowledge about the
Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at UT Health Science Center’s program.
What are some of your favorite
memories in graduate school? Did you feel adequately prepared for your future
One of my favorite memories of graduate school is the long hours
spent in the lab trying to successfully learn how to use SolidWorks, design a
vascular prototype, and 3D print my prototype. It took many days, nights, but
after weeks I could see the success of my hard, all the assistance and support
of other lab mates to help me achieve my goal.
I do believe that this program, gave me not only book knowledge,
but tangible skills to apply in the work field, as far as determination to
reach a deadline. Hard work, to balance working in the lab, a part-time job, and
school work all at once. In addition, flexibility, being able to adjust around
deadlines for research that may not be working out on the current timeline
set-up for the work.
What are you doing at Medpace? Do you
like it? Why or why not? How did learn about this position and what about it
Medpace is a private
clinical research organization, at this company I will hold the title of
Clinical Research Associate. I will be responsible for performing different
activities related to clinical research trials with pharmaceuticals and medical
Associate ensures compliance with: the clinical trial protocol, checks clinical
site activities, makes on-site visits, reviews Case Report Forms (CRFs),
communicates with clinical research coordinators, assure the protection of the
rights, safety and well being of human study subjects, make certain that the
scientific integrity of the data collected is protected and verified, and
assure that adverse events are correctly documented and reported.
I am already loving Medpace! The professional but laid back
culture makes Medpace a safe haven for employees to learn, grow, and teach.
Medpace culture is to “empower our teams to employ their unique talents and
experience to take an assertive approach to research, problem solving, and
ultimately supporting our partners.” Medpace has the “PACE” training program
for new inexperienced hires. The PACE program is a 6 to 12 month program that
intensely trains employees with workshops, exercises, and exams.
I learned about Medpace through MiracleWorkers, a third party
job search site that listed the position for Clinical Research Associate in Dallas. This job requires
a high amount of traveling for clinical studies. All these elements of this job
intrigued my different interest from research, traveling to the clinical studies,
which is a new aspect to me. Also, Medpace offers an intensive CRA training
program, this is rare for companies to offer such a program. “Every
Clinical Research Associate (CRA) receives comprehensive, hands-on training in
an individualized curriculum called PACE (Professionals Achieving CRA
Excellence) Training Program.” I love the investment Medpace puts in each
Tell me a bit about your day in your
As a clinical research associate still in training my day begins
around 7:30 a.m. and ends at 4:00 p.m. In between this time I am working on training
sessions through Medpace’s PACE training program. “PACE prepares CRAs through
interactive discussions and hands on job-related exercises and practicums.
In-house and field-based training is supplemented with clinical research
departmental core rotations, that provide additional learning of the
drug/device development and approval process.
Upon completion of PACE, Medpace
CRAs continue to receive ongoing study-specific training led by the industry's
top therapeutic and regulatory professionals. This ensures each associate is an
expert on your protocol. Our unique team structure is designed to be the most streamlined
in the industry. Reporting lines are clear, open and transparent for everyone
involved – guaranteeing appropriate support and oversight for each CRA.”*
The PACE program is very hands of when it comes to supervision,
so how my day is planned is mainly up to me with some guidance from my manager,
mentor, and other employees. I can have one training session in a day or three if I
want. I enjoy the hands off structure because it daily drives me to strive
beyond the call of duty and truly grasp all the concepts of the industry. “Medpace
CRAs are dedicated to an average of only two protocols at a time, empowering
them to focus on process excellence, understanding the intricate issues of the
protocol and/or indication (disease), and ensuring site compliance.”
What would you tell other graduate
students interested in the career you have?
To students interested in clinical research monitoring, GO FOR IT! I have only been working at Medpace for about a month
now, and I truly enjoy coming into work. The work culture and environment is
great for recent graduates, especially with Medpace’s PACE training program for
entry level positions.
If you do not have a lot of work experience, but love
aspects of research, I believe clinical monitoring will be a great field for
you. Daily, I use my knowledge of the sciences, while also learning more in
dept about different drugs, mechanisms, and more. I am able to interact with
people, working on my public speaking and networking all at work. I believe
this field will open up so many doors of opportunity to move in the career or
even open up doors to different avenues of research.
After working in a laboratory throughout graduate school, then
getting a job at Medpace working with clinical studies, I am able to see
another side of research and I am very grateful for the opportunity. Plus, I
get to wear jeans in the office!
Lastly students, if you are truly interested in this career
path, do your research about different clinical research organizations, what is
required to be a clinical research associate or monitor, and find the company
that would be best befitting for you.
* Information found on Medpace website.
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