Class of 2012 – Innis
Innis Alumna, Salwa Hasan, made the most out of her undergraduate experience. Her volunteer efforts in clinical research became crucial experience when it came time for her to find a job after graduation. After a few years working in the role of Clinical Research Coordinator at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Salwa will soon be moving on to pursue a Masters in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the UK.
In a few words, please outline your career path.
After graduating from UofT with a degree in life sciences, I tried to find work in clinical research because this is a field in which I had previous volunteering experience. It would also enable me to use my undergraduate degree. As such, I worked as a research associate for a contract research organization for a short while before working as a clinical research coordinator within a hospital setting for almost two years. My next step involves doing a Masters in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the UK.
What does the role of Clinical Research Coordinator entail?
The role of a clinical research coordinator is quite dynamic and entails a large degree of multitasking. Job responsibilities can include any combination of the following: patient screening, recruitment and enrollment; data entry, cleaning and processing; collating, analyzing and publishing study results; coordinating with institutional and external research ethics boards; and liaising with multidisciplinary healthcare and research personnel to ensure smooth implementation of studies.
What are some qualities one must possess for research?
Roles in clinical research require attention to detail, the ability to multitask, a strong understanding of the research being done, knowledge of research ethics, good communication and interpersonal skills, and a flexible personality to mediate the challenges that will invariably surface in coordinating a trial.
What do you find most rewarding about your job?
I really enjoyed working in a clinical setting, immersing myself in real-life science as well as the opportunity to work with diverse patient populations in Toronto.
What is the most important lesson you have learned during your career?
The most important lesson that I have learned during my career is to network! Even after securing a job, there is nothing more interesting and exciting as speaking to others in the industry or similar industries to get a sense of what else is out there and how else to improve upon yourself.
What is your favourite memory from your time spent at Innis College?
I really enjoyed the commuter breakfasts at Innis College, which made me, as a commuter, feel more at home within the College. The occasional film screenings were also entertaining and a good break from studies. Additionally, I had a great time working with the Innis Herald during my undergraduate years.
Do you have any advice you would like to share with current Innis students?
Learn as much as you can during your undergraduate years! Make many types of friends, and participate in a wide variety of activities. You never know when a person or an experience can guide your future endeavors.