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Home  > Insider profile
Sara Hellman
Associate Organic Chemist in Drug Discovery

"I had two days a week of lab work, but I had no industry experience."

What have been the most defining moments along your career path?

Working as an Associate Organic Chemist in Drug Discovery at Lilly Research Laboratories. I do research and try to make medicines. I send them to the biologists to be tested under various assays. I chose Eli Lilly for several reasons: They have the reputation of treating people very well. It's a really good employer; they put people first. Plus, they were close to home.

How did you get your big breaks?

I sort of recruited them. It's pretty well known in Indiana, and that's were I am from. So, it was me seeking out a position. A professor from college had been a consultant here, so he gave me a recommendation as well. Of course they like to see experience on a resume. I studied chemistry, and I had two days a week of lab work, but I had no industry experience. Luckily, it was enough to get me hired.

What was the best advice you received when you were first starting out in your career?

Work hard and try to do your best everyday no matter what task you're doing.

What have you learned from your experience?

The lab is set up so you have an associate at your same level, and one senior scientists. If you are new, they try to set you up with someone experienced who can act as your mentor. It's a day-by-day thing. I am learning quite a bit. I am not doing menial tasks, there are plenty of opportunities to challenge yourself.

What most excites you about your job right now?

They have a career center here, and you can go speak to them about your career, in general. There are opportunities for me, in a few years, to move out of the lab and get into other parts of the company, if I wanted to. I also have company support to go back to school if I chose that. Tuition reimbursement is great. There are a lot of opportunities from where I sit right now so that's good.

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