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College of Arts and Sciences Newsroom

Two University of Dayton students first to complete new life science quality assurance minor

By Allison Brace ’22

Abigail Lee, a senior biology major from Mason, Ohio, and Hayley Jesse, a junior chemical engineering major from Dayton, are the first students to complete the University of Dayton’s quality assurance in the life science industries minor. Launched during the 2020-21 academic year within the College of Arts and Sciences, the minor is intended to prepare students for careers in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and biomedical device industries.

Housed in premedical programs, the minor provides students with skills to assure product quality, safety and efficacy, and meet the industry’s scientific and business challenges. The curriculum includes industry-specific courses about regulatory and legal requirements, product development and risk analysis, as well as microbiology and business courses.

“This interdisciplinary program equips students with knowledge and skills for modern positions in science industries,'' said Elizabeth Rhoads, interim director of premedical programs. “The goal of the program is to prepare students to be very competitive in the job market.”

The program is a partnership with Pathways for Patient Health (PPH), a Cincinnati-based independent organization that offers universities a free, cooperative education program which includes a curriculum developed by life science industry and government leaders. Though PPH provides the curriculum for the minor, University of Dayton chemistry, engineering and biology faculty, among others, teach the classes.

“I think this will impact me positively in my field of study because I have all of this knowledge about quality from a legal standpoint, such as how to validate products and how to complete a failure analysis, which will aid me in my future career,” Lee said. She plans to pursue a career in microbiology as a quality analyst in a cosmetic laboratory. 

Initially promoted to students within life science disciplines, the minor is open to students from all majors. The program has expanded to include engineering students, and Rhoads hopes to eventually expand the minor to also include students in the health sciences, among others. 

“I think one of the appealing things about the program is that it brings together students from the life sciences here in the College of Arts and Sciences, but also students who are in engineering and other educational disciplines,” Rhoads said. 

The University’s partnership with PPH provides students with connections to industries and companies that need their specific skill set. Students also can join a portal where they have the opportunity to search and apply for jobs seeking someone with their expertise.  

“I think this minor will positively impact me in my field of study as it allows me to think in a different way or see things from a different perspective,” said Jesse, who plans to continue her education in either a master's or doctoral program. “It also opened many opportunities that I did not have before this program and I’ve learned many new things about industry.”

The minor requires 16 semester hours. Currently, five students have declared the quality assurance minor. Ten students are enrolled in the introductory course this semester.

“This quality assurance minor brings an interdisciplinary approach to learning about the life science industries,” Rhoads said. “It broadens the skills of the students who are involved. It brings together different disciplines and weaves them together in a way that prepares students for modern biotech fields.”

To learn more, visit the Quality Assurance in Life Science Industries minor website.

Pictured at top: Abigail Lee (left) and Hayley Jesse.

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