Industry Transition Spotlight: Kristy Bialas, PhD
An interview with: Kristy Bialas, Ph.D.
What is your name, your full job title, and the full name of the company you work for?
Kristy Bialas, Microbiologist/Scientific Reviewer, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH), Division of Microbiology Devices (DMD), Office of In Vitro Diagnostics (OIR), Virology-1 Branch (VIR-1).
What is your biggest or most satisfying career goal you’ve reached since transitioning into industry?
I wanted to transition into a career that I felt had a direct impact on public health. As a reviewer, it is my primary responsibility to assess clinical/analytical studies and decide whether or not a new device is safe and effective and should be marketed for distribution in the US. I could not imagine having a more direct impact on public health.
What’s been your biggest learning experience or Ah-Ha moment since transitioning into your new role?
Good management is the key to happiness and the ultimate motivator to do great work.
How is your current industry position different from your academic postdoc or experience as a graduate student?
Often, as a postdoc or a graduate student, your ideas and opinions are questioned. Here at the FDA, I am viewed as an expert and my opinion matters, and is considered every single day. I am also surrounded by incredibly smart and thoughtful people.
If you could go back in time to before you received your job offer and give yourself one piece of advice or encouragement, what would it be?
Stop questioning your potential and leave sooner.
What was the most memorable moment for you (so far) as a Cheeky Scientist Associate?
When I got my first offer (as a medical writer with a small company), HR was unwilling to compromise during the negotiation phase. They would not raise the salary, offer a signing bonus, or help with moving expenses. If I hadn’t communicated with other Cheeky Associates about this process and watched the tutorials, I probably would have folded. Instead, I had the courage to understand I was worth more than what I was offered and turned down the position. I took the job at the FDA, which payed over $30,000 more than what I would have been paid if I had taken the medical writer position.
What do you see as the next step in your career?
My interest has always been in biothreat agents. So, my next career goal is to join the medical countermeasures review team so that I can network with individuals in other government agencies and keep my options open for future positions outside of the FDA, if that is what I decide I want.
How can the Association and the Association’s members help you continue to achieve your career goals?
Seminars on how to negotiate promotions or how to rise up the ladder once you have secured a job and put in time.
Now that you’ve spent some time working in industry, what is the biggest takeaway(s) you’d like to share with those who are still executing their job search?
Find somewhere that makes you happy. And even if you are happy in your position, always keep your eyes/ears open for opportunities that may come along, and don’t be afraid to make big changes.
To learn more about how you can transition into an industry career like Kristy, including instant access to our exclusive training videos, case studies, industry insider documents, transition plan, and private online network, get on the wait list for the Cheeky Scientist Association.