Asael Nunez, a senior Biology major, wants to go to medical school after he graduates this May. Last summer, he interned at Eli Lilly in Indianapolis, where he learned firsthand about protein chemistry and column chromatography.
His summer-long project involved automating the antibody purification process for scientists in early phase drug development. Once finished, he had the opportunity to present his project and findings in front of Lilly executives.
“One of the most rewarding parts of my experience was successfully completing my project and knowing that my work would be implemented across the entire drug discovery and development department at Lilly,” he said.
During his stint at Lilly, he formed abundant connections with peers, colleagues, and scientists. He used every opportunity he could to ask scientists about their career paths and how their choices led them to their current positions.
“I learned how to network with business professionals and sell myself as a potential employee,” he said.
In addition to learning about his specific research and project at Lilly, Asael also learned more about the pharmaceutical industry as a whole. This sparked his interest in possibly pursuing a career in the pharmaceutical field if medical school doesn’t work out.
“I learned how drug pricing works and why the pharmaceutical industry is so profitable,” Asael said. “I learned that there is some scandal within the industry. I learned that a lot of companies are cooperating with each other and not just competing against one another.”
His advice? Arrive at your internship with an open mind and be comfortable connecting with new people. It’s usually uncertain exactly what an internship will look like, so be ready to learn and adapt as different situations arise.
“The pharma industry and all other industries are often about who you know, so make as many connections as possible,” he said. “This will only help you when you try to get a job at the company or if you ever plan on coming back to the company after getting a professional degree or doing something else.”