Eli Lilly and Company
"My biggest concern upon graduation was whether to go to med school or not. I was offered a job at Eli Lilly and Company & had been accepted to med school. I took the position at Lilly with the idea that if I didn't enjoy what I was doing, I would look at my options at returning to school either for a medical degree or potentially a Ph D in a science field. I encourage you to talk with trusted friends, parents, & counselors about your fears & decisions. Understand all of your options and leave as many options open as possible."
What was your major/minor at Purdue and when did you graduate?
I majored in biochemistry and graduated May 1990.
What was your most compelling class and why?
I liked all of my lab classes (biology and chemistry) the most. I am a very hands-on person and the lab classes allowed me to see what I was trying to learn and understand in the lectures.
What are you currently working on?
I work on better ways to manufacture Eli Lilly’s E-coli based products including several of our diabetes care products. I am the manager of the Technical Services/Manufacturing Science E coli Platform Pilot Plant facility. My roles at Lilly have all been very technical in nature. I have always had a significant desire to continue learning throughout my life. This coupled with my life-long interest in science has allowed me to continue to develop my technical knowledge and capabilities throughout my career at Lilly.
Was there one person at Purdue who shifted the course of your career?
David Asai. I worked in his lab for several years as an undergrad. He helped me to continue to find my passion for lab experimentation and technical knowledge.
What did you do after graduating?
I started with Lilly about one month after graduating. I worked as a scientist supporting the manufacturing of the bulk drug substance for human insulin at a very large scale.
Did you pursue internships/co-ops, research experiences, volunteer, or join student organizations while you attended Purdue?
I think my work in David Asai’s lab as an undergrad was very valuable. It allowed me to gain knowledge in experimental techniques and it also allowed me to appreciate scientific research at its core. I was also a member of a fraternity at Purdue where I had various roles in leadership. I also participated in several campus activities including Occupational Outlook.
Are there any special accomplishments you've achieved after college that you might not have been able to do without your college experiences?
In 2008-2010, I went back to school (IU) to get an MBA degree. Upon graduation, I earned an “Academic Excellence Award” for my grades. I have also earned multiple awards while at Lilly including the LRL President’s Scientific Recognition Award. I think my undergraduate education at Purdue set me up for these awards by teaching me the technical rigor and the scientific thought processes that need to be applied when trying to complete any scientific endeavor.
Do you still keep in contact with any of your classmates or professors?
There are a lot of former Purdue colleagues currently at Lilly so I see them often. I have also recently gotten re-involved with Lilly’s recruiting efforts at Purdue so I have had a chance to get back on campus to see either former professors or to meet current professors.
What advice would you give to prospective or current Purdue students about how to make the best use of what Purdue offers?
Due to its size and the number of students enrolled, Purdue can be overwhelming to a first year student, but along with its size comes a lot of opportunities to find other students who share the same interests and passions. Couple this with the world renown professors who teach at Purdue and you have some of the greatest opportunities to learn and grow available, but you have to take advantage of these opportunities by seeking them out and then getting involved in them. You have to go make it happen. It won’t necessarily happen on its own.
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