Phuong Kwan, BS, MS ‘15, is an alumna of the MS in Regulatory Science program at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy.
In addition to receiving her master’s degree in regulatory science from the School of Pharmacy, Phuong holds dual bachelor degrees in biochemistry and biology. She currently serves as associate director of quality operations for Grifols Biological, Inc., where she oversees the raw materials and finished product groups to ensure that the work of those groups complies with internal specifications and external regulatory requirements before products are released.
What inspired your interest in the field of regulatory science?
Having worked for 18 years in highly regulated manufacturing environments, I wanted to better understand the regulatory requirements and ongoing changes for product life cycles as enforced by numerous regulatory agencies. I wanted to use my scientific background, experience, and education to streamline pharmaceutical processes without jeopardizing the safety or efficacy of drug products.
What interested you most about the MS in Regulatory Science program at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy?
I applied to the MS in Regulatory Science program at the School of Pharmacy because I found that the School had a great collaborative partnership with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as many other universities and regulatory agencies, through its Center of Excellence in Regulatory and Innovation (CERSI). During my time in the program, I had the opportunity to meet numerous experts from both the FDA and private industry. The content of the courses also appealed to me, as they covered a wide range of topics, including the history of the FDA, management of the drug product life cycle, and current challenges facing the pharmaceutical industry and regulatory agencies.
How would you describe your experience in the program?
Although the program could be demanding at times, I found putting time and effort into learning and understanding the course material to be very rewarding. I particularly enjoyed the course readings, which included a range of current publications and articles that highlighted new technologies and improvements that companies and regulatory agencies have worked on across the country. It fills me with pride that, as a mother of two young boys and a full-time working professional, I was able to complete this program.
How do you believe the program has helped you take your career to the next level?
The MS in Regulatory Science program provided me with an in-depth understanding of product life cycles as well as the knowledge and skills needed to apply Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) principles, concepts, and standards across the United States and around the world. After completing the program, I gained responsibility for developing, implementing, and maintaining systems/processes to ensure compliance with GMP and safety regulations at my workplace. I believe that these new responsibilities were given to me because I was able to apply industry best practices and trends that I learned in the program to my daily work.
What is your advice to prospective students who might be thinking about applying to this program?
If your goal is to gain an in-depth understanding of regulatory science or to bridge a gap between your background and experience with current regulatory requirements, then the MS in Regulatory Science program at the School of Pharmacy is the program for you. I enjoyed having the opportunity to meet experts from the field and make new friends in my class. The program is designed for working professionals, so there is some flexibility in the amount of time that you spend on each course module. However, just like everything else in life, the reward is proportional to the amount of effort that you put in. I hope this program helps you fulfill both your personal and professional goals. It has certainly done so for me.