#career highlight

Tag: #career highlight

Career Spotlight: Environmental Organizations

If asked to name a concern of global importance, many Lawrence students would cite the changing climate and its impact on the environment. Some go so far as to declare environmental justice as their desired career path. In fact, some past Lawrentians have already done so, choosing to turn their passion for the improving the environment into a career, by working for an environmental organization. 

While environmental organizations may occasionally be a private company or corporation, most of the time, such entities are part of local, state or federal government, or they may be a non-governmental organization (NGO), or an intergovernmental organization.  In addition to climate change, other environmental issues they focus on include pollution, waste, resource depletion and human overpopulation.

In the United States, the primary federal government agencies tasked with serving and protecting the environment include the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service.  Most states have their own versions of some of these agencies as well. 

The list of NGO’s in the United States and around the world committed to environmental protection is too long to list, but you have likely heard of many of the larger ones, including the Sierra Club, the National Wildlife Federation, the Environmental Defense Fund, and Greenpeace

All of these government agencies and NGO’s hire interns, so if you are looking for a place to get hands-on experience in protecting the environment and fighting climate change, consider a summer internship for such an agency or organization.  Please note that government agencies hire their summer interns very early, so you should start looking as early as this fall for internships in the summer of 2023.

Another great way to get experience in this area is by joining one of the many Lawrence environmental clubs and organizations, some of which are Greenfire, the Lawrence University Environmental Organization, the LUCC Sustainability Committee and the Sustainable Lawrence University Garden (SLUG)

Career Spotlight: Computational Scientists

Adapted from pennstateuniversity.edu and energy.gov 

A computational scientist is someone who uses scientific computing in applied disciplines such as physics, chemistry, biology, or the social sciences to analyze, clean up and calibrate large amounts of data and create computer models or simulations to create artificial data to solve problems and inform decisions. Because computational scientists primarily work with data, models, and simulations, they can be scientists, statisticians, applied mathematicians or engineers. 

Job Duties  

Computational Scientists work primarily with research. Their job duties primarily involve 

  • Analyzing and interpreting data  
  • Applying computer science procedures to a variety of situations and recommending potential solutions 
  • Designing experiments and developing algorithms  
  • Identifying relationships and trends or any factors that could affect the results of research 
  • Coordinating with research faculty and other technical team members for needs assessment and to accomplish individual project and/or larger organizational goals 
  • Co-authoring papers, proposals, presentations and reports  
  • Maintaining external research collaborations 

Later into one’s career, computational scientists may take on more managerial and mentorship roles as they become in charge of projects and mentor others like grad students in academic settings or new hires in tech companies.  

Working Conditions 

Computational scientists are typically researchers at academic universities, national labs and tech companies because data analysis, creating computational models and simulations are all skills that can be easily used in multiple disciplines. Often, they will need to work with in academically or professionally diverse teams and communicate clearly with researchers from their own or other institutions or clients and executives with non-technical backgrounds if they want to talk about their results. When working for academia or in national laboratories, it may be necessary to travel to research conferences to present their research.  

Education and Training  

Depending on the work, the education requirements vary from a bachelor’s degree to a PhD in disciplines related to what you are applying for. For example, jobs that focus on modeling Earth Systems might require a PhD in either Earth Sciences, Oceanography, Computer Science or any related field. However, jobs that need computational scientists because they need someone to facilitate deeper understanding or shorter time for research then, at the lower levels, a bachelor’s degree may do. Financial companies may want an Economics or financial background. However, prior experience is strongly recommended, even at entry levels for most jobs. 

Pay and Job Outlook 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Computer and Information Research Scientist jobs are expected to grow by 22% and their median salaries were $126,830 in May 2020. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $72,210, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $194,430 with the top three industries being software publishers, research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences and computer systems design and related services. 

More Information 

Here is our list of sources you can go through, if you would like to know more: 

Department of Energy’s Career Map on Computational Scientists 

Computing in Science and Engineering Article on How to Become One 

Career Highlight: Pharmaceutical Scientists

Adapted from northeastern.edu and hospitalcareers.com 

When looking for careers that connect both your interest in research and making an impact on others’ lives, a pharmaceutical scientist could be a potential career prospect. Although pharmaceutical scientists do not interact with patients directly, their work has an invaluable impact on their lives.  

Job Duties  

While pharmacists are trained to evaluate medication use and dispense medications to patients, pharmaceutical scientists are tasked with bringing new medications to the marketplace. Pharmaceutical scientists are trained to discover, develop, test, and manufacture new medications. They perform a variety of tasks such as  

  • Collecting and analyzing data 
  • Working in an interdisciplinary research team 
  • Testing safety of drugs and its side effects 
  • Doing experiments to see how the drug works 

Most of the the drugs will get discarded through the process of trail and error because it can take years to develop a new medicine before it can be widely available. Because of how complicated the drug development process is, each pharmaceutical scientist tends to specialize in one area.  

They can work on finding new uses for existing drugs, discover new meds, research how the body reacts to certain drugs to make them more effective and safer, study the causes and effects of diseases on the human body and find more efficient ways to create the medication. 

Other things necessary to being a pharmaceutical scientist include being patient and having perseverance, as developing drugs takes years of trial and error. They also need to know how to use computers and sophisticated testing equipment, and how to communicate their research and findings clearly. 

Working Conditions 

Pharmaceutical scientists often work for pharmaceutical or biotech companies, but also in academia, contract research organizations (CROs), and manufacturing facilities. They may also act as consultants to businesses and government agencies on anything related to pharmaceuticals. They may also teach at research universities and hospitals to supervise drug testing. 

Education and Training  

While it is possible to become a pharmaceutical scientist with just a bachelor’s degree, especially if you want to work in drug testing, getting a master’s degree in pharmaceutical science or other related fields like pharmacology, medicinal chemistry or biomedical science is more likely to make you a more competitive candidate. A PhD in pharmaceutical science could lead to greater responsibilities and further career progression. 

Pay and Job Outlook 

The median salary is around $80, 974. Since there is always demand for drug development and testing, the job outlook is very good for pharmaceutical scientists. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical scientists (an occupation group which includes pharmaceutical scientists) has a projected job outlook of 17% from 2020 to 2030.