Hosted By

Isaiah Hankel
Isaiah Hankel
Chief Executive Officer Cheeky Scientist

Do you love communicating, networking, traveling, and what to stay on the technical side of research but out of the lab? 

Then Join Isaiah as he interviews fellow Cheeky Scientist: Alex Woychek, PhD, MPH. You might just discover the perfect role for you!

Here’s a quick rundown of this week’s episode…

  • Join Isaiah as he conducts an informational interview with a fellow Cheeky: Alex Woychek, PhD, MPH..
  • Together they will discuss what an application scientist is and what they do. 
  • Finally, Isaiah and Alex will dive into what personalities are perfect for this role, and the ideal qualifications needed to secure a job as an application scientist.

From This Week’s Show…

The Day In the Life Of An Application Scientist

Today we are going to be learning about the application scientist position sometimes called a field application scientist or field application specialist. We are very lucky to have Alex Woychek, PhD, MPH. She is an application scientist currently at Chemo Medic.

Very broadly you as an FAS or even as an application scientist, you are the interface between your customers and the company.

There are so many different facets, you’re working closely with the sales team, but you also are going to work with marketing team business development because all of these other parts of the company are interested in your scientific input. They need to know how to market to scientists. 

This is really a liaison type role.

I would say four out of the five days on average, I’m actually going to customer sites and I’ll do anything from installing an instrument to doing a demo before they purchase the instrument. And then I try to take one day a week or make sure I’m at home to answer emails. 

I think the important part here is, is that you get to stay close to, or you can, if you want to the technical side of your work

What Qualities Make A Good Application Scientist?

We were surrounded by other PhDs. So we don’t think that we are good at processing information. But we are. We can synthesize it, we can put it together. We can look at different fields and different data points and different trends at a scale that most people just cannot do. 

You have to remember that you’re talking to nonscientists and you don’t want to make your team feel like they’re not as smart as you are because they don’t know the science, but they know this whole other business aspect of the company that you have no idea about.

So I think my biggest worry was I had never been in this type of environment. I didn’t know how to interact in the business environment. I know how we interact in science. But when it comes to business, there are these small things that make a big difference.

It just shows how culture is in everything. Culture is how you get things done. There’s an industry culture, and there are different layers of it. There’s a culture of your company, culture of your department, culture of your position.

One of the big things that I learned was networking is so important. You just have to put a lot more upfront time into cold contacting people to just set up those informational interviews.

And you’re actually good at a lot of things, even though you don’t have that support right now from your mentor, the person who’s supposed to be mentoring you, telling you, ‘I think you can do it’. 

If you’re listening and you’ve transitioned into your first career, you can be a mentor. You can give another PhD permission to believe in themselves again. 

One of the very common things that I have seen is people moving from FAS to a sales role. 

It takes a special type of person to be able to be just yelled at for a few minutes when you walk in the door and you just kind of have to absorb that and say, okay, they’re not actually mad at me, something is going wrong in their process.

 I’ve had this question in an interview, how would you communicate this knowledge to a non-scientist versus a highly technical person? 

** for the full podcast, check out the audio player above.

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