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Meet the 2013/2014 Alumni Network Executive Committee (ANEC)

We are pleased to announce new members of the 2013/2014 Alumni Network Executive Committee (ANEC):

Valery Matthys, PhD Class of 2013

I am a recent graduate from the FOBIP course.
I enrolled in the course shortly after starting my second post‐doc because I realized that my knowledge of “what  can you be with a PhD?”  was  too
limited. The Fobip course was a great experience and exceeded  my expectations. The  course changed my view on my potential as a scientist and I  am convinced it gives me a step  ahead compared to other job  seekers.
My goal is promote the Fobip course, especially at Stony Brook‘s postdoc association and focus on career development and networking events for scientists who want to leave academia and enter the commercial world.
Many PhD students and probably even more post‐docs are unaware of the many opportunities that are available to them.
Being part of the Fobip alumni is great way to start for students and post‐docs for networking, creating industry connections and career opportunities.


Qin Yao, PhD, Class of 2013

Networking, improvement, opportunity and leadership are values I hold dearly and will seek to implement if I am given the opportunity to serve on the ANEC. As an Alumna of the Fundamentals of the Bioscience Industry Program (FOBIP), I understand the importance of these values to the ANEC. Since the first day I joined the program, the ANEC have provided a series of network and career development opportunities to every member of the program. The experience is highly variable from one member to another. I am interested in optimizing the experience for all members, as well as myself, to ensure that every member is able to make the most of their FOBIP experience.

In the past few years, I have worked in many different professional environments including an academic institute, a national laboratory, a start-up company, as an event organizer and a health care provider. During my professional career, I have gained valuable organizing, leadership and service skills, and have worked effectively with people from all over the world. During my years of research and project managing, I have published a number of papers and given numerous presentations. This work has given me an understanding and a deep respect for biologists. As a consultant at Enterprise Science and Computing, I have the opportunity to interact with leaders and businesses to help them shape and optimize their business development. As a member at FOBIP, I have volunteered for courses, facilitated communication between members and the program director, and used my network of connections to help solve other member’s problem. As a volunteer in Young Startup Ventures, an organisation that assists entrepreneurs to build successful enterprises, I learnt the importance that network building has for the career development of any professional individual.

As part of the FOBIP case study section, I have seen how individuals can work together as a team to bring about excellence and advancements. I believe that “individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean“. With my relentless passion I have worked as part of these committees. I would like to contribute to the ANEC, and be part of a group of like minded individuals committed to furthering the successful professional careers of others.

I am driven by a vision of teamwork and a strong passion for building professional networks and creating career development opportunities for all FOBIP Alumni. It would be an honor and a pleasure to serve as a member of ANEC and to help realize its goal.


 Jennifer Parla, PhD, Class of 2013

I first learned about the Fundamentals program at a career seminar organized by the Alumni Network Executive Committee, when I was already a few years into an academic postdoctoral fellowship and had just started actively exploring non‐academic bioscience career opportunities. That was less than one year ago, and I have since completed the most recent semester of the program. I believe that my exposure to the goals of the Fundamentals program and the career development initiatives of the Alumni Network has very positively impacted my awareness and level of preparedness for working in the bioscience industry.

From my conversations with colleagues and other early career scientists I have met and continue to meet at the lab and at networking events, my experience of having had minimal exposure to career development initiatives is not unique. As a member of the Alumni Network Executive Committee, my personal goals would include: (a) actively engaging the science community in discussions about the importance of career development programs, both for the benefit of individuals in the early stages of their careers and for maximizing the effectiveness of academic training, (b) identifying recurring or longstanding challenges experienced by the Fundamentals program or the Alumni Network, especially regarding community outreach and program relevance, and devising and executing strategies for addressing such challenges, and (c) researching other graduate‐level career development programs to determine possible improvements and modifications to the Fundamentals program.

As a person who strives to add value to my work and my interactions with people, I have a natural inclination to listen carefully to others and to spend time thinking about the underlying reasons for issues or complex challenges. I also maintain a broad view of science that appreciates the nature and intense focus of research but also wants to see how the results of scientific inquiry can have a tangible and positive effect on society. I believe that my perspective on career development and my hopes for science are consistent with the mission of the Center for Biotechnology, and I hope to have the opportunity to support the growth and development of the Alumni Network by serving on its Executive Committee.


Peter Chahales, PhD Candidate, Class 2013

The Fundamentals of the Bioscience Industry course, which I completed this past semester, has had a profound impact on me both academically and professionally. The FOBI course and the ANEC play a unique role by being in a position to help bridge the gap between academia and industry. I am seeking to be a member of this organization in the hopes of participating in and continuing such efforts to foster these collaborations, which help drive the future of science and technology.

Prior to taking the course, I had been involved in spearheading events to generate interest and exposure into the various employment options outside of academia amongst the graduate and post-doctoral communities at Stony Brook. As a result, in the spring of 2013 I co-organized a one-day career development symposium titled “Research Your Future”, which brought together over 200 young scientist from the four major research institutions on Long Island to explore such topics. As an ANEC member, I would be able to put the skills I had gained in organizing this symposium to develop other events to allow for more streamlined communication between FOBI students and alumni. Also, as a graduate of the course I feel that there are many more graduate students, especially at Stony Brook, who would benefit from taking the class but are either unaware of its existence or cannot afford to take it due to cost or the failure of some departments to offer it for credit. As member of the ANEC, a current graduate student, and the elected Graduate Student Organization senator for my department, I would have a strong platform to promote the course to other students as well to the graduate school and the tenured tract faculty who may be unaware as to the relevance of this course to the student’s graduate studies.


Rui Yang, PhD Candidate,  Class of 2013,

I really enjoy the great knowledge and insight in biotech industry provided by this program. It also helped me a lot in determining my career pathway in industry. It is my great honor to be alumni of FOBIP and my time to serve for this network committee and bring my value to this program.

I believe my qualifications are: 1. Experience in program committee: I have served as program committee volunteer for MIT Enterprise Forum and Young Star-ups Ventures, who is responsible for mastering event schedule, monitoring event status, assisting in event planning and development in cooperation with Marketing and IT.  2.Experience in interpersonal and program management skills.  3.Highly motivated to serve for Alumni.

I believe my proposals for this tenure are:  1.Get close in touch with alumni network to address their concerns, brainstorm events proposals with them.  2.Categorized and Post more job/internship information from the alumni and to the alumni.  3.Host more social networking events and seminar closely related to FOBIP current students’ concerns and more recent-graduated alumni speakers to share experience on jobs seeking and interview.

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