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On the Job, Applying Skills Developed at Beloit College

Mustafa Quadir’20, an associate scientist at the pharmaceutical company PPD, relies daily on skills developed at Beloit College to collaborate with colleagues.

Beloit College graduate Mustafa Quadir’20 is an associate scientist in the Cell & Gene Therapeutics Division of PPD (Pharmaceutical Product Development), a global provider of clinical development and laboratory services.

“My work offers me excellent exposure to a variety of clients and the drugs they produce, both those in the pipeline and those currently on the market. PPD has expanded enormously in the past few years, allowing me to take on more roles and responsibilities as I get to know the company and the pharmaceutical industry.”

Mustafa’s biochemistry major certainly was a factor in helping him land and grow in his position.

“Process improvement is an integral component in ensuring that PPD’s labs function smoothly. I need to be able to collaborate with my colleagues to understand business needs and to balance them with what works best for our teams. My STEM classes taught me to collaborate in the lab, apply theory learned in the classroom, and work with my peers when unexpected problems occur.”

He also credits skills developed in non-STEM courses and other experiences. “My job involves implementing and presenting process improvements. Thankfully, countless experiences at Beloit trained me to be a creative problem solver, to think on my feet, and to develop my interpersonal skills. For example, the assignments in my anthropology classes taught me to research thoroughly and develop balanced, strong arguments.”

Mustafa also learned and prepared for life after graduation by serving as a resident assistant and conducting bio-archaeological research in Italy in a project funded by the National Science Foundation.

At Beloit, Mustafa learned how to learn, a skill he applies daily in his strictly regulated industry.

“My role at PPD requires me to adapt to our clients’ evolving needs, while improving my lab skills. Frequently, when I train on a new lab method and successfully perform it, I am asked to provide feedback to improve the method and to suggest techniques to successfully train other analysts. This requires me to use multiple media: hands-on training, online presentations, and written job-aids to adapt to how my colleagues learn best.”

Mustafa didn’t navigate his education on his own. “Both of my faculty advisors, Rachel Bergstrom (biology) and Leslie Williams (anthropology) were instrumental in mentoring me through Beloit and preparing me for post-graduation life. They connected me with opportunities for research, funding for attending conferences, and guided me as I graduated during the pandemic.”

His advice for current and future Beloit students? “Be open and willing to take classes outside of your major. Connect with staff and faculty outside of the classroom. The willingness to explore, learn new things, and form connections will elevate your college experience, and will leave you with strong connections that you can rely on as you navigate through college and establish yourself post graduation.”

Elizabeth Brewer
August 30, 2021
  • Mustafa Quadir’20 at work in the lab, with his professor and peer.

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