Since she started pharmacy school in 2019, Amani Albadawi has always been drawn to the drug development process and learning about the various roles that pharmacists can undertake within the industry. Now, entering her third year of pharmacy school has a full belt of professional development tools and hands-on experience with a multinational pharmaceutical company.
As a PharmD student, Albadawi was inspired to become more involved in professional development and, with the help of some of her peers, formed the first Industry PharmacISTS Organization chapter at the University of Arizona (IPhO-UA). The organization was aimed to provide students with specific resources to learn about all functional areas of the pharmaceutical industry - including medical affairs, regulatory affairs, clinical development, and marketing - as well as hear from current professionals.
While serving as Director of Professional Programming for IPhO-UA, Amani worked to increase awareness of industry pharmacist roles. She did so by hosting and coordinating meetings and presentations with fellows and medical science liaisons. Alongside this, she was an active participant in the annual “Value of Industry Pharmacist” case competition.
IPhO was a highly beneficial tool in Albadawi’s personal professional development. After receiving invaluable advice from the speakers that presented for IPhO-UA, she was inspired to begin applying for summer internship positions during her second year of pharmacy school. She felt that this would not only get her foot in the door, but it would also provide her with a valuable experience that would expose her to various departments and their functions.
In her application process, Albadawi learned a lot about what it takes to be a competitive applicant.
"One piece of advice I would give to current students looking to apply for internships is to network and reach out to professionals working in various functional areas,” Albadawi advised. “Ask them questions to learn more about their past work experience, what they currently do, and what skills they acquired over time.”
Albadawi also mentioned the benefits of online networking through websites such as Linkedin. In an increasingly virtual world, networking online allows students to reach a broader array of professionals and potential employers.
With all of these tools, Albadawi had the opportunity to intern at Takeda Pharmaceuticals where she worked within external affairs and clinical research while assisting on several projects pertaining to various therapeutic areas. These ranged from gastrointestinal, neuroscience, transplant, and rare diseases. She was also able to continue networking with various fellows, medical and scientific directors, and medical science liaisons with diverse healthcare backgrounds. Through these connections, Albadawi learned about their roles as well as the impact they made within Takeda.
The internship experience as a whole provided Albadawi with real-world experience working at a pharmaceutical company. When asked about her biggest takeaway from her time at Takeda, she expressed, “Overall, this experience has given me a great overview of how teams work together cross-functionally to deliver life-saving medications and improve patient outcomes.”
Story by: Gracie Lordi