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#39  Maryland has more than 300 bioscience companies and government facilities where you can begin a bioscience career.

#100 Would you want Jackie S's career?

Yes, absolutely
Probably not
Definitely not

#24  Why are math and science important for your future?

To master technology.
To use in every day life.
To improve your problem solving skills.
All of the above.

"Believe in yourself and your strengths, and anything can happen."

Jackie S.


BD Diagnostics

  • What I Do
  • Why I Do It
  • My Typical Day
  • Growing Up
  • Education

I’m a scientist in the research and development department at Becton Dickinson.  I help develop new products that detect viral diseases.  A lot of my job is working with different functional areas within the company to implement a new product.  Communication is a key skill in my position – I communicate study results from R&D regularly, and this is done using different formats – written reports that are read and signed off by different functional managers, through emails, or orally in meetings.  Besides communication, I use technical skills from my laboratory background.  Time management and good organization are also important skills in my daily job.


Tell us about your job

Who or what inpsired you to enter your current profession?
I had a great general biology teacher and I really enjoyed his class.  Also, through the environmental club I really became interested in environmental science and I did really well in my science courses.  Science had always been a very challenging subject for me, so I also thought it would be a challenging field to pursue, and I wanted to see how it would work out for me.  Luckily, it has so far!

How did you get your job?
I graduated from Stevenson University and they have a great job placement program.  I was called in to interview with representatives from Becton Dickinson (BD) by the career development office at SU.  The person that called me and explained to me that BD was a very good company, and that interviewing with them would be great experience even if it didn’t lead to a job opportunity.  So I interviewed, and was hired to work in their microbiology quality control lab.

What school subjects do you use at work?
A very general answer would be: science, English and math.  More specifically, I also use: biology, biotechnology, chemistry, statistics, and project management.

Annual salary range?
$48,000 – $50,000

What perks or other benefits do you get?
We have a great benefits package – including very affordable insurance and a 401k plan.  BD has tuition reimbursement (I obtained my MBA while working at BD, and they paid for everything – including my books).  BD also has an employee referral program – so you can get money for referring someone to BD if they’re hired and work with the company for at least 3 months.  There are a lot of incentives – company gifts every 5 years, great vacation allowances, short and long term stock incentives, and employee driven bonuses.  Besides that, there’s travel opportunities within different departments, and that’s exciting.

What are the best and worst parts of your job?
The best part of my job is that I am often challenged, and I get to work in areas that really interest me.  Also, my day is never the same or routine and boring – there’s always something going on, and what I have planned for my day isn’t always what I end up doing.  Something can pop up and completely disrupt the planned schedule!  I enjoy that.  I’d say the worst part of my job is that I do a lot of speaking in front of groups of people, and I’m still not completely comfortable with it, although I’ve gotten better! 

If you weren’t in your current job, where would you be?
I’m not too sure.  Before I accepted a position with BD, I was interviewing with an environmental firm and looking into working in the environmental science field with the EPA and the like.  I have a feeling I would have gone that route had I not been given the job with BD.   

What do you do in your free time?
I like to play with my dogs – I have a 15 year old German shepherd mix, and a 1 year old hound dog.  I also enjoy reading, traveling, and spending time with my family and friends.

What sources can you recommend about your career?
I don’t think there are enough sources for Scientists, but some that I’ve found useful are:

Below is a list of magazines that I use often to research the industry for my job, or for useful information:

A good magazine (and it’s free!) for scientists is:, it’s very general, but has good information including salary and lab politics, trends in the field, etc.  Each of these magazines has career information and lots of archived articles on a variety of topics.

Getting to where you are now

What or who inspired you growing up?
My father.  He always believed in me and pushed me to do the best that I could do.  He made me believe I could accomplish anything and he made me want to achieve success for myself.

What choices have you made that helped get you where you are today?
The greatest choice I made was to go to college and earn a degree; it really opens a lot of doors and opportunities for you.  Also, after I graduated, I worked with the career development department at my college, and that’s the reason I have the job with Becton Dickinson.

What do you wish you’d known then that you know now?
That people’s opinions of you don’t really matter.  I wish I had a little insight into the person I ended up growing into, because I think I would have been more outgoing in grade school and I would have joined more clubs and stuff in high school, and been a little more comfortable in my own skin.  I joined a lot of clubs in college, and I really enjoyed it - helped me come out of my shell.