Why did you decide to earn a degree at Harvard Extension School? How has it helped you in your career?

I needed an advanced degree to help me gain a better understanding of scientific research so I could pursue my career with passion. I found the coursework to be relevant, covering the future trends of the pharmaceutical industry. This degree has allowed me to become more proactive in deciding my future, and it backed me up with the skill set and theoretical knowledge to achieve those goals.

How have you been able to balance receiving an education, work, and life? Any tips?

It was a challenge to balance everything at first. But it became easier as I gained experience and understood how I wanted to shape the direction of the degree to suit my unique interests.

My advice: Take a look at all of the courses offered at Harvard Extension School. Then design a personalized curriculum to get the most of what you want out of the experience. For example, I was granted some exemptions to study entrepreneurship and organizational behavior. I found the topics to be very informative, and the experience has sparked ideas for future projects.

Do you have a favorite faculty member?

I have two, actually. First is Dr. Mihaela Gadjeva. I took immunology with her, and she oversaw my thesis. She is very tuned into the teaching of and pursuit of excellence in immunology. With Dr. Gadjeva’s guidance, I was able to define a novel mechanism of gut/eye-bacteria-induced change in eye surface immunity, which may have far-reaching implications for future therapeutic design strategies.

The second is Paul Green. He is currently pursuing a PhD at Harvard and is an instructor of organizational behavior. I learned a lot about human interaction, particularly about optimal group performance in the workplace. This allows me to evaluate interpersonal interactions and find ways to help groups compromise and work together.

His course also allowed me to better understand leadership. Sometimes the best leader is one who injects just enough into a conversation to help others self-realize, course-correct, and empower them to solve problems and be proud of their achievement!