Oregon Bio View from Academia: Jackie Wirz, Ph.D. Part 2

A few weeks ago, we introduced a new occasional focus section called the View From Academia. We will spotlight the many leading professionals who work in our research universities and in our R&D community.  Today, we’re finishing our talk with Jackie Wirz, Ph.D., Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies and Director of Career and Professional Development at OHSU, where her job is to help students thrive and find success as new professionals. Here’s Part 2 of our discussion.

Q: How does your role support Oregon’s bio-ecosystem?

A: As the Director of Career and Professional Development, it is part of my mission to help our students understand the bio landscape. We host workshops and provide points of connection to our industry partners and have placed a variety of students and postdocs in internships with local companies.

We believe that training should not only include the traditional didactic tenants of a given discipline (can anybody say “Kreb’s cycle”?), but also those essential communication and interdisciplinary team skills that differentiate our students from other training programs. Whether it is learning how to give a casual 15-minute chalk talk on their science, or a formal Research Pitch for a conference, we believe in prepping our students combining both best practices and actual live practice. Additionally, we have training on social media presence, research impact, and personal branding and marketing in order to equip our students with the modern toolkit for success.

I am always available for individual consultations, and work with students 1-on-1 to articulate career goals and create plans to make them a reality. This includes setting students up with informational interviews with key leaders in the Oregon bio industry and performing their market research on companies and research sectors. It is always enjoyable to explore the infinite possibilities within the bio industry!

Q: What do you think Oregon’s bioscience ecosystem needs more of? Less of?

A: The Oregon bioscience ecosystem is in a period of incredible growth – as our landscape has proven to be a viable landscape for start-up companies, we need to ensure that we have the talent, infrastructure, and investment to continue our impressive growth. This is going to require multifaceted attention. Not only scientists, but investors and legislators, communities and universities. In each of these areas Oregon has exemplary leaders – now the question is getting everybody oriented with the same vision of Oregon as a leader in biosciences innovation. I believe that this vision is possible and am eager to partner with Oregon Bio and our bio industry to make this vision a reality.

Jackie Wirz, Ph.D.

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