Monday, September 1, 2014

So What CAN You Do With a History Major?--Part 50

Be a Quality Assurance Analyst for a biopharmaceutical technology company.

In this post in our series "So What CAN You Do With a History Major?" we caught up with Brianna LaCasse, a 2014 graduate of the Messiah College History Department.  Brianna just landed a nice entry-level job in the Boston area (congratulations!). She describes it in the following interview:

JF: Why did you decide to major in history in college?

BL:  I decided to major in history in college because I have always loved studying history. Perhaps more importantly, I saw many advantages in studying the background of, reasons for, and the meaning of the traditions of many other disciplines. For example, I enjoy business, law, economics, and politics, and studying history afforded me the opportunity to study and focus on all of those things, rather than pick one or two to major in. Furthermore, I wanted to develop my writing, critical reading, and research skills and knew that a history major would give me the opportunity to acquire those things.

JF: Describe your current job

BL: I am a Quality Assurance Analyst for a biopharmaceutical technology company. My company builds and stocks databases, beginning with writing the software, stocking them with pharmaceutical and healthcare information, and selling the rights to access these products. We also work with clients to create customized databases that they can use to improve their business, expand their cliental, and gather medicinal, investment, and competitor news data in one place. My job is to test the databases before they are released to the clients. I check for bugs, glitches, missing information, or broken links. Furthermore, I work with the sales team and clients to ensure that there is clear, precise, and accurate information being exchanged between the two groups.

JF:  Can you suggest some tangible connections between your current job and your history training?

BL: Every day I use my research and critical thinking skills as I’m charged with the task of taking an expansive online product and finding the problems or inconsistencies with it. I also use my writing skills as I communicate with many other departments in my business and clients. Here I am required to be succinct and clear about any problems I see with the product.

JF: What advice would you provide to current or future history majors about making the most of their studies and degree?

BL: Take a variety of history classes and not just the topics you think you would enjoy. It’s important to go out of your comfort zone and practice learning, writing, and presenting on topics that you find unfamiliar or you might not enjoy right away. This might be strange advice, but in a career you’re not going to love every task or aspect of your job you’re asked to do. Being a quick-learner and presenting the right attitude go a long way toward impressing your mangers, clients, and coworkers.

Thanks, Brianna.  If you are not familiar with the "So What CAN You Do With a History Major?" series at The Way of Improvement Leads Homeget caught up here.