ECU student’s coursework finds application in real-world lab experiences
East Carolina University rising senior and Honors College and Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences student Arya Shah — who is majoring in biochemistry with a concentration in biology and a minor in business administration, confirmed that she is making the correct choices along her path to a future career.
Shah spent three months during the spring semester interning with Carolina Medical Products, also known as CMP Pharma, in Farmville, applying the techniques she’s learned in her lab classes. Her research on campus includes working to understand, and hopefully stop, the heme riboswitch that occurs when cattle are infected with Brucella Abortus, which is a bacterium that causes fetal deaths and infertility in cattle.
For the first half of her internship, Shah worked in quality control, where she learned how to administer and run tests on products and interpret the results. During the second half of the internship, she worked in research and development, where she saw the effects of formulation alterations for various products.
“When I was working in quality control, I got to use a lot of the techniques I learned in my quantitative and instrumental analysis lab from the fall semester, including high-performance liquid chromatography and titrations,” Shah said.
“I felt extremely reassured after my experience at CMP that I was making the right career moves. I always knew I loved labs in school — and that it is something I am interested in — but through this internship, I am sure that I can visualize myself working in a similar environment long term,” she said.
This summer, Shah is continuing her coursework to complete her minor, taking a few biology courses for her concentration and is continuing her research into Brucella abortus. In addition to her academic experiences, Shah also serves as the manager of ECU Khazana, a competitive Bollywood fusion dance team. After graduating in May 2024, Shah wants to complete a Master of Business Administration degree and attend pharmacy school.
The pharmaceutical industry continues to grow across North Carolina, which ranks third in the country for biotechnology. ECU’s Eastern Region Pharma Center was created in 2021 to support the industry, promoting workforce development and career pathways to meet pharmaceutical manufacturing job needs in the region. ECU’s Spring Pharma Conference in May drew more than 130 pharmaceutical industry representatives and employees from 49 pharma and life sciences companies, evidence of the growth taking place in the region.