An Education Isn’t All M.S. Pharmacy Student Melinda Smith Gets From Her Online Program

Melinda Smith, a student of the Master of Science in Pharmacy with an emphasis in BioPharma Regulatory Affairs program, is currently over ten years into her career, and holds the position of Director of Quality and Regulatory Devices at NeoMed, but she’s still attaining her master’s degree. This program prepares highly skilled professionals to oversee the approval for new product lines and to manage compliance with complex regulatory policies and procedures. She specializes in medical device regulation in her career, whereas UGA’s BioPharma Regulatory Affairs program covers biologics, pharmaceuticals and dietary supplement regulation, among other things. With the broadened knowledge base her M.S. will provide her, she will be prepared when she chooses to move into consultancy in her career.

During her time as a UGA online student in the BioPharma program, Melinda has expanded her professional contacts. Primarily, “being a student [at the University of Georgia] has opened up networking in the industry for me.” Some of the instructors in the BioPharma Regulatory Affairs program are academic professors, but in the more specific and intensive courses, the instructors are consultants in the field and industry professionals. Melinda has met and reached out to her instructors within the class setting, but also has extended this to the professional field due to her expertise in European regulations, saying that, “over the years now, I tap into these people and they tap into me.”

She’s also been able to hire fellow students to her team at NeoMed, having been through the program herself and being confident in the “significance and quality of the program.” Melinda hired a peer of hers, Tika Rizal because of the recommendations of some of her professors, and he now works directly with her. She says that the academic knowledge that students get in the BioPharma Regulatory Affairs program, while not real world experience, “gives [students] enough to be able to think logically in the sorts of ways that will build their career.” Specifically about her now-colleague Tika, she states, “I can see the impact of the [BioPharma Regulatory Affairs] program on him through his daily actions here.”