Eric Nkrumah’s journey as a UMBC Institute of Extended Learning student is a testament to the transformative power of education.
As a Production Technician II at AstraZeneca, FMC in Maryland, Eric’s career trajectory has been impressive. Eric gained unique insights into the industry and developed the necessary skills to excel in his role. Through guest lectures from esteemed professionals in the field, including the FDA, Eric gained firsthand knowledge and built a strong foundation for his career.
In this article, he shares his story with us.
Eric’s Transformative Power of Education
Please tell us a little about yourself in terms of your professional path.
I earned my bachelor’s degree in Statistics & Actuarial Science from KNUST, Ghana. I started my biotech career as a contract manufacturing technician for Saint-Gobain Life Sciences, a biotech company in Gaithersburg, MD. We manufacture single-use technologies for laboratories and pharmaceutical operations.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, I became interested in Biomanufacturing after attending a workforce development workshop organized by NIIMBL/Montgomery County, MD. There, I learned about UMBC’s Professional Programs in Biotechnology. I enrolled in one course, and my current employer hired me three months into the course. I work as a Production Technician II for AstraZeneca, FMC, in Maryland.
Which non-credit courses have you taken with UMBC?
- QC/QA for Biotechnology Products (BTEC 664)
- Good Manufacturing Practice for Bioprocesses (BTEC 662)
- Development and Regulation of Biopharmaceuticals (BTEC 660)
- Biotechnology GMP Facility Design, Construction, and Validation (BTEC 666)
- Cell and Gene Therapy (BTEC 691) ongoing
What motivated you to take the courses in a non-credit format?
The courses are essential and industry-relevant skills. Again, these are more in-depth training at the graduate level. So, the non-credit pathway is an opportunity and an intelligent way for adult learners to acquire the same skills as graduate students.
How have you benefited from the courses?
The fact that I play a role in a team that manufactures safe medicinal products for patients is a huge benefit. I also learned problem-solving techniques that I could implement while working. Additionally, I gained from hearing about other participants’ experiences. The courses offer great networking opportunities in a rapidly growing field.
What were your expectations from the courses?
I was interested in learning more about biopharmaceutical manufacturing because I expected to enter this field as a career. The courses exceeded my expectations. The training provided me with a clear roadmap for acquiring skills. It also offered digital badges with authentic evidence of training.
What were your favorite parts of the courses?
I have three favorite aspects:
- interactive nature
- thought-provoking quizzes/questions designed to measure understanding of concepts
- short projects/case studies to test the application of concepts in real-world scenarios.
What was your big takeaway from studying here at UMBC?
My biggest takeaway was gaining unique insight from guest lecturers from private entities and public organizations (like FDA) with direct hands-on experience on various topics in the field.
Can you think of anything else to add that you believe prospective students in a similar career position as you would want to know?
According to experts/researchers in life sciences and biotechnology, “As the biotech workforce continues to grow and change, adult learners would need access to non-credit programs and stackable, personalized learning pathways that allow them to showcase relevant skills to employers; and turn those professional skills into job opportunities.” These personalized pathways are precisely what UMBC, through its Institute of Extended Learning, is doing by offering a non-credit continuing professional education format. I urge prospective students to use that in upskilling for their career growth.
With UMBC’s Institute of Extended Learning, your career opportunities are endless. If you are exploring career options in Biotechnology, looking to increase your prospects, or keep your team up to date with the latest developments in the field, then take a look at our upcoming non-credit courses and register today!