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The NICHD Connection caught up with Jeanne Fringer, NICHD former fellow and one of the career table participants at the Seventh Annual NICHD Fellows Retreat, to ask her a few questions about her particular career track in the pharmaceutical industry:

Q: What is your current title, and what do you do? What's your typical day like?

A: My title is Scientist III. I work at US Pharmacopeia (USP) where I develop methods in the laboratory that characterize reference standards for drugs. For example, I recently worked on a bioassay that delivered a potency readout for a particular growth factor. A typical day includes working in the laboratory on assays, working on my laboratory notebook and records, writing reports, and attending meetings. I work 8 hours a day. The hours are flexible around our "core" hours.

Q: How did you find out about this job?

A: I found out about this job through a friend of mine at NIH. Her friend was working at USP, and she told me to contact him.

Q: Please describe the application/hiring process. Did it take a long time? 

A: The hiring process took about two months. After I sent in my application, I was called in for an interview about four weeks later. I interviewed with my current boss as well as four other members of senior management. After the interview, it took about another three weeks to hear back from them.

Q: Did you do anything in particular at the NICHD to prepare you for your career transition? 

A: I think that exposure to a lot of different methods and technologies at NICHD helped give me an advantage in the work force.

Q: Do you have any advice for fellows who are thinking about entering this career field? 

A: I would say to fellows that when applying for jobs in industry they should accentuate every bit of experience that they have, even down to everyday routine methods, such as a protein assay. These are methods that are used a lot in industry and a good understanding of them is valuable.

Q: Is there anything else you'd like to mention about your career field? 

A: Working in an industry setting is definitely different from academic style research. There is a lot more focus on output and efficiency, as well as documentation and quality assurance. It can be a difficult transition to make, but it is a rewarding experience to be working in a career that is closely tied to public health.