Nihaarika completed a Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Biotechnology at Madison College, and later a Masters degree at UW-Madison. She has worked as a Specimen Processing Associate, and a Manufacturing / Formulation scientist. Currently, she works as an Assistant Cell Biologist.
1. Where did you attend college and what degees (or certificates) did you complete?
I hold a B.Tech in Biotechnology degree from SRM University in India. After that, I went on to do a 1 year Post Graduate Diploma in Plant Tissue Culture and Micropropagation that also included an internship from Bioseed Research India. Subsequently, I came to the US and pursued the Post Baccalaureate Biotech certificate at Madison College. Shortly afterwards, I was admitted to the Masters in Biotech program at UW-Madison, which I completed.
2. What has your career pathway been like?
I worked for around 8 months at Exact Sciences as a Specimen Processing Associate. Next, I worked as a Manufacturing/Formulation scientist at Biotechnique LLC, a Madison,WI company specializing in making viral vaccines.
3. What you do for your current job?
Currently I work at JangoBio in Fitchburg, WI. I am an assistant cell biologist, meaning I grow cells, take care of them, and prepare them for experiments.
4. How did your biotech program prepare your for working in the biotech industry?
The hands on experience that I gained at Madison Area Technical College has proved very valuable in strengthening my fundamentals in chemistry and math that is a mandatory requirement wherever/whichever area we work in. Also, the basic Business concepts that I learned related to Biotech have been an eye opener. Biotech is not just confined to lab, it is also about the marketing and business that are critical elements to create a rounded biotech professional. Moreover, the contacts established during the program and also Mary Ellen's notification about available positions is always helpful.
5. What advice would you give someone who is interested in a biotech career?
I am very young in the field to advise another person!! I still have a long way to go:)
But from what I learned and am learning: it is essential to have diverse skills. These include proficiency in speaking, writing, networking and making contacts as also to have a preliminary exposure to the business aspects including Patents and IPOs. Career paths are easy to follow if we keep ourselves open to learning/acquiring skills from the very beginning.