Air Force Vet Transitions Emergency Management Experience to New Role in Biomanufacturing
For active military service member Terra Trujillo, finding a new career after she transitioned from the U.S. Air Force to the North Carolina National guard was frustrating.
By chance, however, she read about the BioWork certificate program and soon found herself applying the emergency management experience she gained in the military to a new role in the biopharmaceutical industry.
After serving throughout the Middle East as a member of the Air Force, Trujillo and her husband Nathaniel relocated to Vass, North Carolina near Fort Bragg, where her husband is on active duty in the U.S. Army.
Trujillo’s time with the Air Force and her current role as a non-commissioned officer in charge of logistics with the National Guard taught her important skills. Even with her knowledge of water testing, instrument sterilization and emergency management best practices, her job search was not gaining traction.
“Sometimes it is difficult for service members to find civilian career roles,” said Trujillo.
One evening she was scrolling through a Raleigh Reddit community when she came upon a thread about the Military Service Member Biopharma Manufacturing (MSMBM) program at Central Carolina Community College. Through the MSMBM initiative, military service members can participate in the BioWork certificate program at no cost to them.
Trujillo signed up immediately and started her courses in May of this year, at just the right time.
“I was contacted by a recruiter prior to starting the course, but when I finally interviewed, I mentioned that I had completed the certificate course. I believe it’s what gave me the edge over the other candidates,” explained Trujillo.
Today, Trujillo is an engineering systems administrator contractor, managing curriculum assignments at Pfizer in Sanford.
“I process requests from managers to extend due dates for curricula, assign and remove training for employees based on their roles and add curricula for new hires,” explained Trujillo.
She credits the MSMBM program and her BioWork certification for new career.
“The military has given me a lot of skills that I can apply to the industry, such as the ability to follow standard operating procedures and the dependability to show up and work autonomously,” Trujillo explained. “I had a similar role within emergency management as a training manager for a base-level program.”
The experience she gained through her military service doesn’t stop here.
“In addition to emergency management, I have experience with the aseptic technique, water testing and instrument sterilization, as well as experience in using different instruments that detect and identify biological and chemical agents such as hand-held assays, chromatography and colorimetric tubes,” she added.
Thanks to the BioWork program, Trujillo has found a new career that has opened new opportunities.
“Ultimately, I would like to be a full-time employee and move out of the contractor role,” she said. “I have also considered pursuing continuing education in pharmaceutical science or clinical research as well.”
The MSMBM is a collaboration between partners who are growing the life sciences talent pipeline in select regions and was developed with an award from the National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL) and financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Commerce and National Institute of Standards and Technology
Are you a military service member interested in a career in biomanufacturing? Learn more about the MSMBM program here.