Student's path to clinical trials job is 'a very good surprise'

After earning her psychology graduate at San Diego State University, Stephanie Miller had a goal.

“I thought, how can I get into clinical research without going to med school? she said. “So I did my research and learned that UC San Diego Extension has a strong clinical trials program.”

Thus, Miller draws a perfectly straight line between earning a Professional Certificate in Clinical Trials Design and Management and getting her current job.

“It took no more than two months and I was hired,” she said. “It was a very good surprise.”

Miller works as a clinical trials assistant at Quintiles, a global pharmaceutical firm based in Mira Mesa that conducts clinical trials with doctors and patients on proposed drugs and therapies. She’s been there two years.

“We test new drugs for everything you can think of, like schizophrenia, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, depression, and lots of others,” she said. “There’s always something new coming out that needs to be tested on humans.”

You know those pharma ads in which the many side effects are enumerated?

“Those are the ones that have passed the testing phase and been approved by the FDA,” said Miller. “The industry is always looking to get their newest drugs on the market as fast as possible. We’re there to ensure they’re tested and safe.”

Quintiles offers a handy perk that allows Miller to work from home at least one day a week. “They’re very much into giving us freedom,” she said. “So my hours are flexible, which I really like.”

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