COSAM News Articles 2019 October COSAM Alumna Working with Visionary Cancer Center Returns to Speak with Chemistry and Biochemistry Students

COSAM Alumna Working with Visionary Cancer Center Returns to Speak with Chemistry and Biochemistry Students

Published: 10/01/2019

By: Maria Gebhardt

Auburn alumna Emily Roarty ’01 returned to the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry to talk about her non-traditional science career path and share sincere advice with both undergraduate and graduate students. Her lecture, “From the Bench to the Boardroom: My Unexpected Journey Through Science and Administration,” took place on September 19.

Originally from Lafayette, Louisiana, Dr. Roarty is the executive director of strategy and impact for the Moon Shots Program at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. The Moon Shots Program is a visionary new approach to find cures to end cancer.  She graduated from Auburn University’s College of Sciences and Mathematics (COSAM) with a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology. During her time as an undergraduate student and worked in Dr. Douglas Goodwin’s Lab.

“Working in a laboratory taught me how to better manage my time while I was in college,” Dr. Roarty explained.

After graduation, she continued her education earning a doctorate degree and researched a malignant type of brain tumor. Her efforts focused on aberrant signaling in brain tumor samples.

She completed two postdoctoral fellowships and began pursuing her interest in a non-traditional role in science.

“The skill set you have as a scientist is extremely applicable across a wide range of careers,” she told students.

When she began her career as a clinical research scientist at the MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology Department in July 2011, she handled a variety of functions including lab management, grant writing, budget preparation and handling legal documents.

Over the last decade, she has refined her skills and in her current position oversees projects with major corporations, multi-million dollar agreements, and philanthropic efforts.

Dr. Roarty discussed with students the importance of networking and shared advice she was given to treat every conversation as a potential job interview.  After her talk, she answered questions and offered insight into the numerous advantages in combining a passion for science with careers outside the lab.


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