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Student Profile: Apoorva Chaloori, Biotechnology MS

Apoorva Chaloori is a second year Biotechnology Graduate Student. She is graduating in the Class of 2022.

Why did you decide to pursue a Master’s degree at Northeastern? What do you like most about the graduate program so far?

“One of the main reasons I chose Northeastern is the co-op program. I know many people are aware of the program, but I don’t believe they understand how valuable the program is unless they can participate. Additionally, Northeastern has an excellent reputation for education. After completing my undergraduate degree in public health at Rutgers University, I wanted to go to school where I would do more than learn in a classroom; I wanted to apply what I learned outside the classroom and get the most out of my education.”

What do you like most about the graduate program so far?

“The Biotechnology program is fairly new and it’s constantly evolving to meet the demands of society and industry. I have witness the expansion of the program as they expand into niche areas of concentration. When I first began in 2019, we had only three or four concentrations. Now I see only one year later they’ve expanded to agriculture, biodefence, terrorism, and many other applications of biotechnology. I think the versatility of the program is very interesting and offers a lot of potential. My concentration is in enterprise, but they reassigned previously required courses to be electives.”

Can you tell me about your overall experience as a Biotechnology Master’s student thus far?

“I find the program very comprehensive in its entirety, but what stood out to me the most was my Biotech Enterprise course. When I first applied to biotechnology programs, I had a very specific goal in mind. I came in with the intention of becoming a research scientist and refused to consider anything else. However, from the beginning of my first Biotech Enterprise course, Professor Christa Dhimo challenged me and opened my mind to all the other possible career paths I had available to me. Professor Dhimo spoke to her students about specific programs and took the time to help us understand that Biotechnology is more than just time in the lab. The program taught me to be open minded about what I am capable of and the professors helped me find a career path that I wasn’t even aware I wanted to pursue.” 

Could you tell me about your experience at GSK?

“I am currently on co-op at GSK Boston which is a new branch within a company that was formerly a midsize biotech company acquired by GSK in 2019. Currently, we are in the remnants of the acquisition phase from last year. In other words, the culture has yet to align with GSK, so a part of my responsibility as a co-op student is to help rewrite and rework approximately thirty standard operating procedures and streamlined them across several departments in the company and with our external partners around the world. GSK is an amazing company with many developmental opportunities such as Inclusion of Champions. I was brought on to help facilitate inclusion and diversity dialogues. In my time at GSK, I helped facilitate four dialogues, ranging in topics from religious diversity, race ethnicity, call to action against Asian Americans, and International Women’s Day. We just calculated the numbers and a total of 300 people have participated in these dialogues thus far. Additionally, we have begun an Inclusivity and Diversity newsletter that includes various resources, guest writers, and events. Lastly, I am very involved in the IND hiring strategy for the Boston and Pennsylvania locations where I will continue to help with developmental opportunities. What makes this so exciting is that this is just the tip of the iceberg and in these four months I have accomplished more than I ever did in my three years postgrad.”

What are your plans after degree completion?

“I intend to pursue a full time position after degree completion, but this time around I have a clear understanding of where I want to be in terms of a desired company and role. I would also like to travel and potentially complete an international fellowship, PhD, or intensive leadership program.” 

What advice can you provide students who are considering pursuing a Master’s degree at Northeastern?

“The advice I’ve been given since undergrad is to be open-minded. I do believe that being close-minded for so long prevented me from trying many things out of fear that I would lose focus on the career that I thought I wanted to achieve. Throughout my undergraduate years I wanted to attend medical school so all of my work was focused around achieving this one goal which kept me from exploring or considering other career paths. As soon as I opened myself up to trying new opportunities and enjoying more programs, I felt myself enter an attentive space where I could see opportunities for my own development.”