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Monday, November 21, 2016
2016 TIBBS Career Blitz

Cornell BEST teamed up with BEST colleagues at UNC to provide an opportunity for BESTies to participate in their TIBBS (Training Initiatives in Biomedical Biological Sciences) Career Blitz on Nov. 15 and an ELITE (Enhancing Local Industry Transitions Through Exploration) PPD Site Visit in the morning of Nov. 16. ELITE is a collaborative effort from NIEHS and Duke University to visit local biomedical companies.

The Career Blitz involved over 20 PhD-trained scientists from different career paths to answer participant questions about what they do, how they navigated their career paths, and how those interested can follow in their footsteps.

PPD is a contract research organization within the Research Triangle Park, NC. Their site visit ended with panel discussion of PPD scientists from Medical Writing, Regulatory Affairs, Biostatistics, HR recruiting, as well as someone from project management.

Four selected Cornell BESTies were able to take part: Oriana Teran, Biochemistry Molecular and Cell Biology, Daniel Cheung, Biomedical Engineering, Nikolai Rakhilin, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Maria Liberti, Molecular Biology and Genetics. Although the latter two have moved to Duke University because their advisors changed affiliations, they will both ultimately get Cornell degrees and thus were eligible to participate. They joined a group from the UNC BEST Program to network and learn about the multiple careers available to PhDs.

See below what they have to say about their experience.

This event was extremely helpful. I was able to network with a lot of people at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Career Blitz. We also participated in several panels, and I discovered some career paths were definitely not for me! Furthermore, at the PPD site visit, different departmental chairs gave overviews of their responsibilities and how they achieved their specific career goals. They also gave us advice on how to tailor our résumé if we ever wanted to apply to industry.-Oriana Teran

Amongst the industrial events BEST has sponsored that I've attended, this is probably one of the more useful ones. The entire event had numerous speakers coming from corporate biopharma industries to government agencies, and the sessions were small. I was able to talk to a few speakers in depth about their experiences and their path to their jobs. Specifically, they fortified my idea of wanting to take an internship or co-op in industry before graduating to gain experience in that area, which is highly beneficial, as many of them have pointed out. The site visit the next day was also enlightening to see the different areas of work available in CROs, which was something I hadn't considered before. Overall, this experience was awesome, and I was able to not only connect and follow up with some of the industrial speakers but I also made some new connections with other students from the BEST program.-Daniel Cheung

Overall I felt that the event really expanded my view of potential career paths. There were many interesting speakers in all different disciplines, but the simultaneous discussion sessions and overlapping networking sessions only allowed me to talk to a handful of people out of the large range of speakers. I am still trying to decide on a career track and I wish that I could have had a chance to talk to some of the other speakers which were unreachable because of overlapping speaking/networking schedules.-Nikolai Rakhilin
The [speaker] list really encompasses a full range of different career paths and it would be great to hear first-hand perspectives and experiences.-Maria Liberti