How iJOBS Transformed My Graduate School Experience

By: Paulina Krzyszczyk

Paulina Krzyszczyk is a Ph.D. candidate in Biomedical Engineering at Rutgers University. Rutgers University was awarded the NIH BEST award in 2014. The specific program at Rutgers is called iJOBS (Interdisciplinary Job Opportunities for Biomedical Scientists).


A few weeks ago, my labmates and I were discussing job opportunities, as we are all currently on the job hunt. One of my friends was struggling with identifying local companies that fit her interests, so I quickly sent her an excel sheet I have compiled over the years containing this information. She was grateful, and a little shocked. She said, “How do you have this?!” I shrugged it off and didn’t think much of it until a little bit later when I realized that I had iJOBS to thank.

Over the years, I have been sifting through the biweekly iJOBS emails finding events, opportunities, and job listings that interested me. Even though I wasn’t always on the job search, if a company was listed that I hadn’t heard of, I included it in my excel sheet; I added information about the location and type of positions offered.

Over time, my handy excel sheet evolved.

Thinking back, I now recognize and appreciate all of the things that iJOBS has offered me—including aiding me to create this document. The Rutgers iJOBS program began in 2014, during the early stages of my graduate career. Since then, I have attended and completed numerous events and activities:

  • Panel discussions on career topics
    • Non-profit institutions
    • Regulatory writing
    • Biopharmaceutical and biotechnology Industry research
  • Workshops
    • Medical communications
    • Regulatory writing
    • Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP)
    • Project management
    • Pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics
  • Site visits
    • Bayer
    • Celgene
    • McCann Health
    • Eli Lilly
    • GlaxoSmithKline
    • Envigo
  • SciPhD Training Program – Preparing Scientists for Professional Careers
  • Career fairs
  • Events outside of the iJOBS program
    • Webinars
    • Symposia
    • Networking dinners

And,

  • Participated for three years as a blogger and senior editor on the Rutgers iJOBS Blog

This list is by no means comprehensive—it contains examples that quickly came to mind. Looking back, I am impressed with the amount of time I have spent at iJOBS events, learning about potential career paths and developing the necessary skills.

A recent activity that comes to mind is my participation in the consulting workshop. Before that, I had only a vague idea of what consulting in the healthcare, pharma, and life sciences sectors entailed. After the workshop, I had a much stronger grasp on the types of tasks and challenges that a Ph.D.-level consultant would have. As a result, I became interested in this field, and it is one which I am highly considering for my future. Similarly, my impression of regulatory writing was also changed when I attended a workshop, which I wrote about on the iJOBS blog, here.

In short, iJOBS contributed to a significant part of my time in graduate school, and the experiences I took advantage of have made me a more well-rounded scientist.

Without iJOBS, I am confident that my graduate school experience would be very different. I would, most likely, only consider a future as a research scientist or post-doc, as that is all I would have known and all I would have thought I was capable of doing. Instead, I am now considering consulting, project management, and medical communications as potential career paths, among others. iJOBS taught me that with the right skills and approach I am competitive for many different careers.

I am eternally grateful for all of the opportunities offered to me by iJOBS, which were made possible by the team of dedicated faculty and staff at Rutgers University. Lastly, I thank the NIH for providing this transformative opportunity that has enhanced my graduate career.

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