Ryan Boehm, a graduate student pursing a PhD in biomedical engineering at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, recently shared his ISPE journey with ISPE Manager of Affiliate/Chapter Relations Tracey Ryan after winning the Jane Brown ISPE-CaSA Scholarship.

Tracey: Let me start by congratulating you on receiving the inaugural Jane Brown ISPE-CaSA Scholarship.

Ryan:  Thank you. I am honored to be selected as the first recipient of the Jane Brown ISPE-CaSA Scholarship. I owe a lot of thanks to the great people who have made an impact early in my career – especially Jane Brown, Wendy Haines and all of those involved in the scholarship process.

Tracey: You have been an active student member of ISPE for some time now, how did you find ISPE?

Ryan: I first joined the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student branch of ISPE-CaSA at the suggestion of my graduate school advisor in the spring of 2012. Not knowing much about the organization at the time, it seemed like a good opportunity for networking, sharing my research and the opportunity to attend professional meetings as a graduate student. When I presented a poster on the research of the antibacterial properties of microneedle devices for drug delivery applications at the 2012 Technology Show in Raleigh, NC, I quickly saw the benefits of being a part of ISPE from an educational and professional perspective.

Tracey: Your poster was then selected as the winner of the regional poster competition and you were able to present the research at the 2012 ISPE Annual Meeting in San Francisco, CA. What was your ISPE Annual Meeting experience?

Ryan: The trip to San Francisco for the Annual Meeting was rewarding. I not only had the chance to present my research again, but was able to meet with a number of industry professionals, get to know more of the ISPE-CaSA leadership, interact with the Young Professionals group and talk to fellow students from around the country. The networking sessions and educational programs gave me a better idea of the wide reach of the organization and the numerous disciplines associated with ISPE within the life sciences. Getting to do some sightseeing around San Francisco was not a bad perk, either.

Tracey: After presenting your research to industry leaders at both the 2012 Technology Show and 2012 Annual Meeting, you returned to North Carolina with passion and excitement to expand your involvement with ISPE. Would you tell us a little more about your experience with the student branch and the chapter’s activities for increasing interest in STEM careers?

Ryan: I’ve been serving as the treasurer of the student branch since spring of 2013. The leaders of the ISPE-CaSA chapter and student branch work together to create opportunities for students to engage with industry professionals at local meetings and learn about the research and career prospects during site visits a number of life sciences companies in the area. We also participate in outreach events in Raleigh, NC, at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. The museum and ISPE-CaSA have partnered over the last several years to put on an annual STEM outreach event, for which our student branch has been able to create a booth to provide science demonstrations and activities for the event patrons. It allows us to meet with young people who are interested in and enthusiastic about STEM activities.

Tracey: As you continue your studies and involvement with ISPE community, what are you looking forward to the most?

Ryan: I have had positive interactions with everyone I have met through ISPE and the CaSA chapter. Mostly, I am looking forward to continuing my involvement with the organization, increasing the reach of the student branch and enhancing my knowledge and network.