When we try to explain how we got to where we are, we tend to act as if it were intentional, but for me, a number of decisions and encounters over a long period of time have led me to where I am today. Growing up I always focused on math and science, so when I went to college, I wanted to try something different. After enrolling in a comparative literature course on empire and colony, I decided to major in the discipline and later graduated with my Bachelors in Liberal Arts. I was happy with my degree, but I wasn’t really qualified for any job.
I started to work in finance, banking, medical billing, and debt collection, which wasn’t very motivating or rewarding for me. After helping my wife study for her graduate-level speech pathology course in neurology, I decided to return to school and started taking courses in biology, chemistry, and anatomy and physiology in the evenings. Then one day, I was searching careers for medical professionals online, when I found two professions that I thought were interesting, medical writer and cytotechnologist. At the time, I wanted to be certified for a specific job, so I pursued becoming a cytotechnologist and later graduated with a Masters in Bioscience Technologies.
For a couple years, I worked as a cytotechnologist, but never really forgot about medical writing. Then, when opportunity presented itself, I decided to do something I always wanted to do, and returned to school to obtain my PhD in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. A few years into my degree, I knew that academic research wasn’t for me, so I helped establish a series of seminars at the medical school that focused on alternative careers for post-docs. Since I was interested in medical writing, I asked a number of professors whether they knew of any alumni who had gone into medical writing and would be willing to come back and talk about their career.
I had the opportunity to hear a couple of medical writers speak at my school, and after defending my dissertation, I immediately started looking for opportunities as a medical writer. One of my classmates from graduate school had been working at Oxford PharmaGenesis, and through a series of connections, I got the opportunity to take the medical writing test for the company. Unfortunately, the position that I originally applied for had already been offered to another candidate, but I persisted and an opportunity opened up in the US Value Demonstration Practice. When I met the team at Oxford PharmaGenesis, we talked about medical writing, the company culture and, most important to me, I got to learn about the company ethics from the Executive Vice President.
After that I knew where I wanted to be and turned down a post-doc opportunity that I had been offered at Princeton University. Over 2 years later, I’ve had nothing but opportunity at Oxford PharmaGenesis. Opportunity to learn from some of the most motivated, kind, and intelligent people I could have hoped to meet after my PhD. Opportunity to engage in new therapeutic areas. Opportunity to earn the confidence of every client that I’ve worked with and advance my career. Opportunity to grow with the company and secure new business. Opportunity to feel like I am making a difference by helping to disseminate healthscience research that impacts patient care and access to new medicines.
I can’t say that it’s always easy, but working in medical writing as an Associate Consultant to a Senior Consultant in the US Value Demonstration Practice at Oxford PharmaGenesis has certainly been rewarding, and I am encouraged for the future!