Merck Pharmaceuticals in Rahway, New Jersey, hosted a day of exploration for the Chemistry Department’s summer program women undergraduates. Dr. Rebecca Ruck, Executive Director, Process Chemistry & Enabling Technologies, developed a program of presentations and laboratory visits to inform the students about the process of taking a drug from the design stage through to testing and manufacturing. Dr. Jennifer Obligacion, Princeton GS 2018, and Dr. Nastaran Salehi Marzijrani enthusiastically served as the program guides and advisors for the day.
The schedule included an overview of Merck’s operations by Dr. Ruck, followed by a presentation by Dr. Danielle Shultz on the processes involved in the design of a promising drug.
During the lunch period, a panel of five Merck women scientists told the students about their undergraduate aspirations, their academic paths, and the various factors that contributed to their development of an interest in a career in the pharmaceutical industry. Each panelist described her unique background and the decision-making process that led to her current position as a talented scientist within the company. A lively Q & A session followed the presentations as the undergraduates gathered information towards their choices of a major, specific coursework, and career path considerations.
The afternoon was spent touring various labs that focused on catalysis, separations, preparatory research, and biocatalysis and discussing the work in progress with researchers. The day wrapped up with a tour of the automation lab.
Dr. Ruck is a graduate of Princeton’s Class of 1992. She received an undergraduate degree in Chemistry, earning Highest Honors, nomination to Sigma Xi, and the Everett S. Wallis Prize in Organic Chemistry. She was awarded a PhD in Chemistry from Harvard University under the mentorship of Professor Erik Jacobsen and completed her postdoctoral work at the University of California at Berkeley with Professor Robert G. Bergman.