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Jonathan Thomas

Jonathan Thomas Advisor while a Ph.D. Student: Michele Marcolongo and Tony Lowman
Year of Graduation: 2001 (MS), 2006 (Ph.D.)

How did you decide to come to Drexel MSE for a Ph.D.?

I completed a BS/MS degree with Michele and Tony in Drexel’s MSE and had a desire to continue investigating the area of hydrogels for soft tissue replacement/augmentation. I had the opportunity to work on a very interesting and clinically relevant project.

First Job Post-Graduation and Brief Description of Duties:

I work at Covidien which is a large healthcare company. I am a Senior Research Scientist in R&D in the Surgical Devices Global Business Unit. I work at an R&D and manufacturing facility in North Haven, CT. The products that we sell include surgical staplers, access devices, and both absorbable and non-absorbable sutures. I work specifically on projects involving sutures.

How did you find your first job?

I met the Manager of the R&D department at a career fair at the Society for Biomaterials Annual Meeting in Chicago in 2007.

What have you been doing since?

I am a native of the Philly area and it was tough at first moving up here, but I’m doing well up here in Connecticut. I’ve been living here almost 9 months and am adjusting nicely.

How do you feel your Ph.D. research and education have contributed to your job?

I think the best asset one gains from Ph.D. research and education is the ability to work on a project, focusing on the small details and specific aims, while at the same time not losing focus of how the project as a whole fits into a bigger picture. Mentoring and assisting undergraduates and younger graduate students helped develop skills useful in working with people in industry. Also, the ability to critically evaluate and research a technical area is a skill that translates across many subject areas and is not limited to the specific research I conducted at Drexel.

Do you have any advice for students looking for a Ph.D. program or for current students?

For student looking for a PhD program, meet with current graduate students and professors who are both younger and older to get an understanding of their perspectives on getting a Ph.D. Talk with students who have been in their programs for 3-4 years. They are at the point where they have gained an understanding of what it is like to balance research and classes and they often are getting to the point in deciding what their next steps after grad school will be. For current PhD students, always be mindful of what you want to gain from a Ph.D. Some know that they want to go into academia and focus on teaching or research or both. Others know from the start that they want to go work in industry or at a national laboratory. Keep you mind open about your next steps after graduate school. I’ve seen a number of people who come in only interested in academia but end up in industry and vice-versa.

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Last updated Tuesday, June 24, 2008