COSAM News Articles 2020 March COSAM Alumna Uses Microbiology Knowledge to Excel in Sales

COSAM Alumna Uses Microbiology Knowledge to Excel in Sales

Published: 03/17/2020

By: Melanie Vynalek

Melea Horton uses both her microbiology and business background in her role as an Executive Sales Representative for Merck and Co., Inc.

Horton graduated from the College of Sciences and Mathematics (COSAM) in 1991. Continuing her education at Auburn, she received a Master of Business Administration in 1993.

Studying microbiology afforded Horton the knowledge needed to pursue positions in the support of treating infectious diseases. She credits her time as a student-researcher to providing her with some of the most valuable experience. These skills came in handy with conducting the initial job search and vying to be a top candidate.

Years later, Horton’s involvement at Auburn, and the effect of numerous COSAM professors and classes – especially a medical vocabulary course – continue to benefit her today.

“I am so glad I was required to take this class [medical vocabulary] and learn medical terms and roots. If I am not familiar with a particular term, I can usually make an educated guess about its meaning just from breaking down the words with the knowledge I gained in this class,” Horton said.

In her more than two decades with Merck and Co., Inc., Horton has used both of her Auburn degrees simultaneously. She previously worked as a hospital representative promoting intravenous antibiotics, antifungals, and antivirals. Now, her primary work is as a vaccine representative.

A typical day for Horton involves meeting with healthcare providers who use Merck’s products, in order to support and assist their efforts in public health.

“The most challenging part of my work is when people do not trust in the science behind a particular pharmaceutical product, and believe and act on misinformation. I try to handle these challenges through education and advocate development,” she said.

Horton emphasizes the endless possibilities and the different directions a science degree can take someone, just like hers did.

She reminds students to stay focused, think outside of the box and gain experience while still in school.

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