Renae Chavira is an alumna of the MS in Pharmacometrics program at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy.
Renae earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from Nebraska Wesleyan University and her master’s degree in management from Doane College in Lincoln, Neb. She has worked in the pharmaceutical industry for more than 15 years, specializing in pharmacokinetics and clinical pharmacology. She plans to use the new knowledge and skills gained during her time in the program to actively and effectively contribute to the drug design and development decision making process.
What inspired your interest in the field of pharmacometrics?
I have always found the drug discovery and development process to be very fascinating. There are multiple areas of study, including study design, clinical safety, and regulatory standards, in which individuals can expand their knowledge beyond their specific field of study. Knowing that what I do on a daily basis has the potential to help others is very rewarding.
What interested you most about the MS in Pharmacometrics at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy?
I knew that I wanted to pursue formal education in the field of pharmacometrics, but as a full-time working professional, my options were somewhat limited. The design and flexibility of the MS in Pharmacometrics program at the School of Pharmacy made it possible for me to continue working while taking coursework that directly applied to my career.
How would you describe your experience in the program?
On a personal level, I feel a great sense of accomplishment from my participation in the MS in Pharmacometrics program. The program has given me the confidence to pursue more engaging interactions with my colleagues in other departments and broaden the depth of my contributions to current drug development programs at my company.
The coursework is also very relevant to the pharmaceutical industry. In fact, I have already been able to apply many of the concepts that I learned in my career. The way in which the instructors structure the material to focus on decision making prepares students to think about the “big picture” of drug development. The program’s hands-on approach also emphasizes students’ application of the concepts, rather than just showing us how to use the tools.
What is your advice to prospective students who might be considering whether or not to apply to this program?
Completing any graduate program while working full-time can be challenging; it requires a lot of focus and effort. However, the quality and content of the coursework -- particularly for individuals currently working in the pharmaceutical industry -- makes the program well worth students’ time and energy. I would recommend this program to anyone in the pharmaceutical industry who is interested in learning more about pharmacometrics and its related software tools, but more importantly, I would recommend this program to anyone who wants to broaden his or her understanding about how pharmacometrics can be effectively applied to the drug design and development decision making process.