After participating in the RAPS DC/Baltimore Chapter’s career day in 2014, Marcia Johnson, RAC, CBA, was inspired to create a similar event closer to home in the Atlanta area. Together with the Chair of the RAPS Atlanta Chapter, Penny Northcutt, RAC, FRAPS; Grace Powers, RAC; and several chapter volunteers, Marcia started pulling together sponsors and panelists.
On 8 October 2015, the RAPS Southeast Regional Career Day brought together those interested in regulatory careers, veterans of the field and regulatory employers. The program venue was generously provided by the Georgia Institute of Technology, where nearly sixty students and professionals gathered for several panel discussions on subjects ranging from educational qualifications to the different career paths available to those in the regulatory field.
During one panel, participants talked “about how they got into [regulatory] and what they are doing in their careers,” said Powers, who felt the students in attendance left with “a better understanding of what regulatory affairs is as a profession.”
“The attendees were also looking for advice on their resume, and the timing about job applications, and how to ‘break in’ to regulatory affairs,” according to Mary Ann Kinard of Halyard Health. “Most of the attendees were currently in the BioID master’s program [at Georgia Tech], which seems to be a didactic program to design, market and manufacture a mock medical device in the US. The practical experience of the program seems to be a lead in to regulatory affairs, and it was a pleasure to meet the generation of attendees that are motivated to start a career in regulatory affairs.”
Many of the presenters shared specific career advice and insights on their own career paths. Marie Mathews, MS, and LaReese Thomas, PhD, from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Atlanta District Office discussed what FDA looks for in its recruitment process. “They talked about how people went straight into the FDA,” said Grace.
Following the panels, participants were able to network, discuss specific topics in depth and meet with recruiting employers. “We had a lot of good feedback from students,” said Grace. “There was a lot of interaction with the companies.”
“I think this event was very well attended and the attendees were respectful and truly interested in learning about the regulatory affairs career paths,” said Kinard. “There was insightful dialogue from the attendees, and plenty of well-formed questions about the regulatory landscape as it pertained to the medical devices that [Halyard] had on display... I would definitely like to be a part of this type of event again in the future!”
Sponsors and participants for the program included the Georgia Institute of Technology; The University of Georgia, School of Pharmacy; Cryolife; CR Bard; Chart Industries and Halyard Health.
Similar career day events were held in 2015 in the Washington, DC and Chicago areas.