When I was offered a chance to participate in the student poster competition for projects in the field of pharmaceutical industry, I did not have the slightest clue on what was in store for me. On the day of the local competition in Singapore, I presented my poster competing against undergraduate and PhD students. As a high school student standing up against more well versed and sophisticated projects, my hopes were low. Nevertheless, I embraced the opportunity wholeheartedly. I was shocked and delighted when I was declared the winner. Then when it dawned upon me that the prize was a fully paid trip to San Francisco to present the poster, I was utterly overwhelmed. I set off open-minded to attend the international final held during the 2012 ISPE Annual Meeting from 11–14 November in San Francisco.
The half-day journey was exhausting, and I set foot into the United States for the first time on 10 November. The next day, I set off to the conference venue for the Young Professionals luncheon, which was an excellent networking opportunity. We then headed down to the poster set up area, where I got to meet all the participants. This was one of the memorable highlights of my trip. Getting to meet so many different students with very impressive projects at a single location was rewarding. Chapter presidents shared advice, problems and even solutions. Being able to be a part of such a discussion was wholly enriching.
The next day, I attended the Membership Luncheon and Awards ceremony where the Student Poster competition results were announced and other highly prestigious awards were given out. Kerri Killen from Stevens Institute of Technology and Shyamala Pillai from New Jersey Institute of Technology won the undergraduate and graduate prizes respectively. At 18 years old, being a part of such a prestigious event may have been the last thing I had expected to happen. Needless to say, each and every moment I spent at the ISPE Annual Meeting was a valuable stepping stone from high school to the world of the pharmaceutical industry. It gave me a great opportunity to network with professionals, students and mentors at a very critical point in my life, where every next step I took would lead to a completely different destination.
I may not have been able to utilize this great opportunity fully as many others would have. This would have been a splendid chance for those looking for a profession in the pharmaceutical industry, and for a mere 18 year old like me, it was a chance to explore the field. Thus I would strongly encourage every student, high school, undergraduate and graduate who is interested in the field to participate in the poster competition. You would never know when luck walks your way, like it did for me.
I would like to wholeheartedly thank Professor Kim Chu Young and Sathya Dev, my mentor and co-mentor respectively, and Andrew Chia, my partner who has worked alongside me throughout the whole project. I would also like to thank Kathryn for painstakingly planning every single part of my trip, making it extremely comfortable and memorable. Finally, I would like to thank ISPE for this great opportunity. I hope yet another lucky individual can get to experience it.
On 29 November 2012, a presentation on GMP Cleaning – The Practical Aspects was held at the Jurong Country Club. For Biotech and Pharmaceutical drug producers, cleaning is an essential element to ensure product safety. Inadequate cleaning has been the root cause behind many warnings and a few plant shut downs. As more firms realize that automating cleaning is not an issue of labour cost versus capital cost, but more of an opportunity to improve both efficiency and quality while reducing risks, the trend is picking up steadily in Asia.
Presented by two experts in the field from Getinge, Michel de Comarmond spoke about Cleaning Methods and the implications for plants and operations while Lorenz Egli discussed the practical usage of detergents. The event was a huge success with interactive discussions during the Q&A session. ISPE would like to thank Getinge and all the attendees for making this event a great success.