Season 1 Episode 1

Listen to the episode here!

Alli likes to think of herself as a traveling professor for her company. She traverses the East Coast working as a Field Application Scientist, or FAS, for a genomics company, teaching researchers about the technologies her company offers and how to use them to conduct their research. 

During her postdoc, she realized that an academic career was not her calling. Luckily, her amazing relationship-building skills and the opportunity for a free meal from technology seminars and product fairs opened the door to a career as a FAS. Now, she leverages her experience giving scientific presentations, mentoring students, and managing projects from her time in academia into her current career.

In this episode of Translate Your Training, Alli talks to us about her journey from the bench, to the seminar room for a free bagel, to her current position. We learn about what a FAS does on a daily basis, as well as what skills she was able to take from her experience in academia to industry. At the end of the episode, Alli gives us (and all graduate students listening in) valuable advice for continuing through your PhD with confidence and regard for your mental wellbeing.

Main points and take-aways from this episode:

  • Alli’s job as a FAS spans several aspects of the sales process. She is involved in pre-sales where she gives presentations to institutions to “cast the net” of interest; and she is involved in post-sales where she trains researchers on how to use the instrument and provides support.
  • The job involves a lot of travel which can sometimes get overwhelming, even for those individuals who have the travel bug.
  • A huge part of being a FAS is interacting with clients. So being personable and friendly are big advantages when interviewing for these jobs.
  • Project management, presenting, and mentoring are the main transferable skills Alli uses from her PhD in her daily life as a FAS.
  • Be specific and quantify your skills on your resume. 
  • Don’t be afraid to be yourself and share personal stories when appropriate during phone interviews. You will be remembered by the interviewer better if they can tie a unique story to your application.
  • Get help during graduate school even if you don’t think you need it. You are more than your PhD.

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