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Drug Information Association Provides Great Opportunity for USciences Students

University of the Sciences students benefitted from the University’s relationship with the Drug Information Association (DIA) http://www.diahome.org/ this past year. With support from Mayes College, a DIA student chapter of the Horsham-based group that services professionals in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, and related fields, was formed. It marks the first formerly recognized student group by the DIA. Mayes Associate Professor Dr. Danny Benau and PCP Assistant Professor Leonilla Blustein are co-advisors for the group.

In addition, University students were able to attend the DIA 2012 Annual Meeting from June 24-28 in Philadelphia that also included a Mayes College sponsored alumni reception. The following are two students’ reflection of attending the DIA conference:

DIA 2012 Annual Meeting: Collaborate to Innovate
By: Kyle Flannery

A year ago, I was unaware that The Drug Information Association existed. Last fall, I was surprised to learn not only that DIA was a professional organization, but that they were requesting to form a student chapter on our very own campus. Furthermore, I was presented with an active leadership role as a vice president within the organization. It took a tremendous amount of work to establish ourselves on campus, but I believe that the benefits have been truly worthwhile. Attendance at the DIA Annual Conference has been the most noteworthy benefit of student membership to date.

At first, I was apprehensive about attending the DIA Annual Meeting. Not only was there a large price tag, but attending would mean missing four days of work in the summer. I was also unsure that I would be able to take anything away from the meeting. ‘Who would really want to network with a student?’ I thought. I was scared that I would spend the whole conference going to meetings that were above my scope of understanding and that I would not make any meaningful connections.

A great aspect of DIA’s Annual Meeting was the way they organized the seminars and meetings. In the “Conference Guide” the seminars were clearly grouped into “tracks.” The tracks each represented a different topic within biomedical information. Furthermore, the individual meetings were given a rating of difficulty similar to a ski resort. Three categories (Circle, Square, and Diamond) separated the meetings according to how difficult they were to understand. This system of organization ensured that you attended meetings that were both interesting and also tailored to coincide with your individual knowledge level within that particular topic.

The DIA Annual Meeting allowed for networking experiences which were productive and enjoyable. Attendees were willing to have conversations with strangers and meet new people; this made the event fun. I came home with a huge stack of business cards. Connections can be very important when job searching, and I definitely may have met a future employer. In addition to professional connections, I also got to ask personal questions and hear about firsthand experiences of working in the pharmaceutical sector. You can learn a lot about a career in class but speaking to people actually involved in the profession provides a much more thorough understanding of that field.

I came away from the DIA Annual meeting feeling refreshed and invigorated. I attended useful seminars; I met many students and professionals with common interests; and I got to see things that my classmates will not be exposed to until they graduate. I’m looking forward to attending this conference again in the future and I will be actively advocating that my peers join me.

Reflective Statement: DIA 2012 Annual Meeting
By Dhaval Patel

There is no shortage when it comes to professional organizations on our campus. This past fall semester, my colleagues and I, along with several faculty members, collaborated to establish a student chapter of the Drug Information Association at University of the Sciences. This organization sets itself apart from the others on our campus in that the focus is to provide students and professionals with access to information that can help them advance their careers, skills, and innovation in pharmaceutics, biotechnology, medical devices, and related fields. I am currently a sixth-year pharmacy student and although our chapter of DIA was established late in regards to my time here at University of the Sciences, I can safely say that I have seen a large benefit to being a part of this organization.

This summer, I had the opportunity to attend the DIA 2012 Annual Meeting which was held right here in Philadelphia. Over the course of four days, I had the opportunity to attend several seminars and sessions and interact with individuals across many different fields. On the first day, I attended a student forum where we learned about and discussed different aspects of applying for jobs, including making a resume. As many students have, I have sat through resume writing workshops on more than one occasion. This workshop, however, was different since it was run by individuals who are involved in the hiring process within the pharmaceutical industry. One tip that I had never previously heard was creating a summary sheet to supplement your resume, listing the companies you have worked for and the therapeutic categories you have worked with.

The first and foremost reason I decided to attend DIA 2012 was for the networking opportunity. Every day that I attended the meeting, I spoke with individuals from different fields within the industry. Everyone was so sociable and interested in hearing about who you are and why you were attending the meeting. Networking is a must when it comes to the pharmaceutical industry. Whether it is through school, internships, or professional meetings, making connections will be very beneficial when you are applying for jobs, fellowships or even looking for an out-of-network rotation during your sixth year if you are a pharmacy student.

DIA 2012 was overall a great opportunity. I attended forums and seminars that I would not have otherwise been exposed to and was able to meet many other students and professionals along the way. I am glad I was offered the opportunity to attend this meeting locally and am looking forward to attending the meeting next year in Boston. I would strongly encourage anyone interested in entering the pharmaceutical industry to attend these meetings for a strong entryway to both learning and networking opportunities. 


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