Actually, luck had little to do with it. The twenty two recipients of Student Scholarship and Junior Professional Awards are attending the Pharmaceutical Industry SAS Users Group (PharmaSUG) from May 17-20 because of their qualifications. This marks the fifth year that PharmaSUG has offered these special programs, which are funded by SAS and managed by PharmaSUG volunteers Richard Allen and Ellen Brookstein. I spoke recently with Ellen to learn more.
Michael: I understand that you must be a full-time student to be eligible for the student scholarship, but how do you define a “Junior Professional (JP)?”
Ellen: A junior professional is someone who has three years or less experience in the pharma industry using SAS.
Michael: Each program has an application process. What are a few things that you look for when selecting the student and JP winners?
Ellen: When we choose the junior professionals, we look for a few things. We ask in the application how they think they will benefit from the conference in their job. An interesting and well-thought-out response is always a plus, as well as having had a paper accepted to the conference. We also try to end up with a diverse group, so we have some representation from industry, policy research groups, hospitals and public health/epidemiology groups. Our winners come from around the country, and this year we even have a young woman coming all the way from Australia!
In terms of the student applicants, most are pursuing graduate degrees in statistics, public health or epidemiology. Before the conference, we find out if there is a graduate program that is local and encourage those students to apply. Last year in San Diego we were able to include an extra five students.
Michael: How have these programs evolved over the years, and what have YOU learned from the students and junior professionals?
Ellen: I see the scholarship winners as the future of PharmaSUG,so we try very hard to make this a rewarding and fun experience for them! We even go through a pretty crazy process of trying to match up roommates so that they can spend more nights without having the expense. The award for students includes a room for three nights. By bunking together, students can stay for five or six nights and really take advantage of the pre- and post-conference training seminars that they are entitled to.
We have started both a Facebook group page and a LinkedIn subgroup just for scholarship winners which helps them stay in touch. It’s also a constant reminder to them that PharmaSUG is always just around the corner, and they should think about applying again for a scholarship!
Congratulations to this year's Student Scholarship and Junior Professional award winners! You’re soon to learn new SAS skills, meet other SAS users, hear about innovative new research and network with other professionals from around the world at PharmaSUG 2015 in Orlando, FL.