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Explain your career path
After finished my BS degree at Southeast, I started my career as a scientist at a company in St. Louis. I looked for job opportunities within my company that utilized my scientific background, but let me learn and develop other skills. As such, I moved into roles in Compliance, Product Management and Sales, as well as complemented my undergraduate Biology degree with an MBA. I have spent much of the last 10 years of my career focused in leadership roles in Sales and Marketing in the Biotech/Biologics space. Earlier this year, I joined a company that is focused on cell therapy as their Global Sales Director.
What was your major at Southeast and what led you to that?
I majored in Biology at Southeast, with minors in Chemistry and Environmental Science. I always loved science (did many science camps as a kid!), and I originally believed I would pursue a career in medicine. However, I did an internship the summer before my senior year in a laboratory at the company I would end up working for after graduation. I saw that I could actually mix science and business and have many career options available to me in the future.
Why did you choose to attend Southeast?
There were many reasons that I chose Southeast. First and foremost was the quality of the education that I knew I would receive. I loved the campus, and Cape Girardeau was a very welcoming town for this girl who was a little scared to leave home. I also saw it as an amazing overall value based upon the reasonable tuition and generous scholarships available - I was actually awarded the Governor's Scholarship, which cemented Southeast as the perfect choice for me.
Who influenced you most during your time at Southeast?
I think the two professors that had the most impact on me were Dr. Bruce Hathaway, who I had for Organic Chemistry I/II, and Dr. John Kraemer, who I had for most of my Environmental Science sources. Dr. Hathaway always made learning fun - who knew Organic Chem could be FUN? And Dr. Kraemer really opened my eyes to the wealth of career opportunities that exist for scientists in industry. So grateful to them and all of the talented faculty that I had the opportunity to learn from in my time at Southeast.
Share your best college memory.
I have so many memories that involve the amazing ladies that I lived with on the 6th floor of Towers North, who remain some of my best friends today. Possibly my favorite was when we had a snow/ice storm during finals week, and we went sledding down the hills that surrounding the field that used to be by the Towers Complex (I believe it is a parking garage now). We had a blast playing out there for hours like little kids!
What is the most important thing you learned while you were at Southeast?
I learned who I was! The supportive environment at Southeast - from the friends that I made, to the professors that I learned from, to the different activities available that allowed me to develop and stretch different skills - helped me really start to understand what I wanted from my future and from my life. I was never really shy or introverted before, but my time at Southeast gave me a greater confidence to embrace and be proud of who I was and what I was capable of achieving.
Describe Southeast in three words.
Motivating, transformative, supportive.
What is your greatest professional accomplishment?
I believe it is the multiple opportunities I have had to lead talented teams of people. For me, there is no greater honor or responsibility that a role that involves motivating, mentoring and helping others to succeed. Though I never want to see my team members leave, I am so proud when I see them moving on to bigger and better career or life opportunities!
How did your education at Southeast prepare you for what you are doing today?
It gave me a solid foundation on which to structure an entire career, one that I believe rivals any other institution out there. I have worked for and with scientists with degrees from universities all over the world, and I have always found that my Southeast education prepared me for my roles as well as, or better than, any of them.
What advice would you give current students or recent graduates interested in pursuing a career in your professional field?
First of all - go for it! There are SO many opportunities for graduates with a scientific degree. Know that there are many options available to you - just because you have a chemistry degree or a biology degree doesn't mean that you have to do experiments at a lab bench. There are opportunities in business, medicine, pharmacy, law, etc. that allow you to utilize your scientific background in unique ways. And explore internships! Had I not taken advantage of an internship before my final semester at Southeast, my career path very likely would have been different.
What do you wish you had known before graduating and entering the "real world"?
It sounds cliché, but truly ENJOY THIS TIME. Take your education seriously, of course,
but don't take things TOO seriously yet. Don't be in such a rush to get through a
class, through finals, or to the next chapter in life that you forget to relish and
enjoy the great times to be had while you are still there.
Also - know you are going to thrive when you get into the "real world" as Southeast has prepared you well!