An interview with KarryAnne Belanger, PhD
What is your name, your full job title, and the full name of the company you work for?
KarryAnne Belanger, Medical Writer, Castle Biosciences, Inc.
What is your favorite part about working in industry? (this could be a specific thing about your job or about work-life balance etc.)
My favorite part about working in industry is how meaningful the work is. I am much closer to impacting patients’ lives now than I ever was in academia.
What does a typical day at work look like for you?
A typical day for me involves writing and engaging with co-authors to get feedback on the projects. I currently work on abstracts, manuscripts, posters, and slide decks. Each project starts with a kickoff meeting, where I discuss the project concept with my internal R&D team. After this meeting, I write a draft of the project and then send it out to the R&D team for feedback. I then manage the internal review and incorporate the feedback I receive. The final step is to send the project out to external co-authors and incorporate their feedback. I work in the office three days a week and remotely two days a week.
How is your current industry position different than your academic postdoc or experience as a graduate student?
First, I feel that my current industry position is much more meaningful than my experience as a graduate student, as our work directly impacts patients’ lives. Second, there is a lot more autonomy in industry. I can work from home two days a week, and the company is very flexible about our schedules. It is much more about getting your work done rather than being present so many hours a day.
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?
To have more faith that I would find a job.
What is the most memorable moment for you (so far) as a Cheeky Scientist Associate?
The most memorable moment for me was when a fellow CSA member helped me get my first freelance writing job. I’ve had several other freelance opportunities come from other CSA members. I hope to be able to help other members in the future!
What do you see as the next step in your career?
I either plan to stay in medical writing or transition into an MSL role.
How can the Association and the Association’s members help you continue to achieve your career goals?
I’d like to learn more about the medical writing career ladder. I’d also like to hear from any CSA members that transitioned from medical writing into an MSL role.
Now that you’ve spent some time working in industry, what is the biggest piece of advice you’d like to share with those Associates who are still executing their job search?
Try to get experience outside of academia. For example, I did freelance writing and editing while I was in graduate school. This experience outside of academia helped separate me during the interview process. It also made the transition a lot smoother from academia to industry because I had experience with several different types of clients.
To learn more about how you can transition into an industry career like Samantha, 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.
Isaiah believes that if you feel stuck somewhere in your life right now, you should make a change. Don’t sit still and wait for the world to tell you what to do. Start a new project. Build your own business. Take action. Experimentation is the best teacher.
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