Melissa WangMelissa 1

Major: Genetics & Philosophy

Graduation Year: 2007

How did you decide on your major?

I chose Genetics as a major because I was fascinated that something as microscopic as DNA could be the blueprint for all living organisms. I was especially interested in how genes could give rise to cognitive function, and even emotion. I chose Philosophy as my second major because I was curious about consciousness and the human mind. The combination of these two majors led me to pursue graduate studies in neuroscience.

What did you like most about it?

For me, the best part of the Genetics major was learning to do actual science in the labs, both in lab classes and as independent study.

What is your current position, what do you do, and what do you enjoy most about it?

I am currently an Associate Medical Director at Ogilvy Health. My company focuses on medical communications and pharmaceutical marketing. I enjoy working with a wide variety of people on a daily basis, from fellow PhDs/MDs to Art and Digital folks, to come up with creative ways to communicate scientific concepts.

What was your first job after Rutgers and how did you get it?

After Rutgers, I completed a PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania.

How did you move from that first job to your current position?Melissa2

While finishing up my PhD, I decided that academia wasn’t really for me. I wasn’t thrilled about the prospect of perpetually applying for funding, and the generally slow pace of research didn’t suit me. However, I realized that my favorite part of doing science was communicating my research findings. So, I looked into “alternative” careers for science PhDs and discovered medical communications.

Looking back, what classes or experiences at Rutgers would you point to as contributing to your successes?

Working in a couple of Genetics labs and doing an undergraduate research thesis really prepared me well for graduate school. Even in my current line of work, I often come across molecular biology techniques I learned as an undergraduate Genetics major.

What advice do you have for our current Arts and Sciences Students?

It’s okay if you don’t know what you want to do yet, because there are possibilities out there that you’ve never even heard of. Trust that you will eventually find the right path.

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