A love of innovation and a desire to make an impact are two incredibly important values you’ll find in Bristol Myers Squibb’s job descriptions for Process and Bioprocess Engineers at our Devens, Massachusetts and Seattle, Washington campuses. If these values are meaningful to you when looking at career options, read on to see how they positively impact Ceylin Elmasli, Senior Specialist, Associate Process Engineer, and Will Kamnick, Senior Specialist, Engineer. Their day-to-day roles and responsibilities are critical to Cell Therapy Development and Operations, while offering interesting and meaningful careers within the exacting drug manufacturing process.
BMS's breakthrough research in cell therapy is helping to revolutionize the cancer treatment landscape. As such, the continued investment and potential of this science also means incredible growth potential for the people working within the field. But when you hear it straight from Will and Ceylin, that potential really comes to life.
Doing Meaningful Work for Patients Who Need It
“I knew I wanted to work in healthcare pharma,” said Will, “creating a product for people who really needed it. I did that with medical device companies, but when I learned about cell therapy and its potentially life-changing impact on patients who have run out of options – that really opened my eyes.”
“I’ve been with BMS for about two years following my experiences in lab research, graduate school and internships,” added Ceylin. “The people at BMS are very passionate, and there's so much here that motivates me, both in my colleagues and in the technology."
A Rotational Program Provides Hands-On Learning
Process and Bioprocess Engineers do work that is both challenging and varied, cross-functional and collaborative. After obtaining a BS in Biomedical Engineering, which included work in the field for medical device companies, Will discovered a BMS Cell Therapy Rotational Program – brand new at the time – that allowed for rotation through four different departments in cell therapy. It turned out to be an affirmative experience that changed his career path.
“It helped me understand how cell therapy works in the infrastructure of BMS,” Will said. “How we support getting these therapies to patients, and where I could be within the subsets of cell therapy. I’ve now been full-time at BMS for a year and a half and I couldn’t be happier with my decisions.”
Shining a Light on the Process Engineer Position
Ceylin found BMS after applying at a career fair, and since her hire, she has been learning, growing and expanding her skills and experiences while at the same time feeling more closely connected with the patients.
“Within Manufacturing, Technology and Science (MSAT), we have process engineering, lifecycle management, investigations, contamination control and process systems,” Ceylin said. “As process engineers, one of our main responsibilities is serving as process subject matter experts. It’s a role that includes a lot more cross-functional collaboration than my previous internships and lab experiences. We provide 24/7 support for process-related issues, assess any resulting impact to our product, and lead or support changes to minimize risk to future batches. All of this is incredibly important since cell therapy is currently an autologous treatment – each batch is being made for one patient only. That really puts it into perspective for me.”
Opportunities to Work Site-Side and Globally
While Ceylin’s day to day includes cross-functional collaboration with her Devens colleagues and on-going collaboration with other US-based BMS cell therapy sites, her focus is on supporting Devens’ ability to manufacture. As a senior specialist with a global MSAT focus, Will’s focus is a bit broader.
“We focus more on a global outlook,” he said. “That means discerning trends in manufacturing across all our sites, while trying to get ahead of those trends or any special instances; maybe other sites have experienced similar issues. We’re forward-looking as well in terms of strategy and outlook as a whole, including a lot of lifecycle management to make sure we continue successful manufacturing.”
Finding Growth Opportunities Among the Day to Day Work
When talking about his swift growth to MSAT Global Senior Specialist in just over three years, Will again references the rotational program. “A lot of my progression from New Jersey, to Massachusetts, to Washington State was due to the program. I was passionate about following my goals and the program provided a great opportunity to learn and grow. I completed the program at the specialist level and was promoted to senior specialist a month ago.”
Due to her graduate school experience and research, Ceylin came into the company as a senior specialist, but still senses opportunities to continue to grow both personally and professionally. “There are plenty of opportunities to grow at BMS. Talking to one’s manager about next steps, seeking out opportunities, taking part in one or more of our eight People Business Resource Groups, all of that has been helpful to me in understanding and moving toward my future goals.”
Inclusion in Action
BMS is proud of our global investment in inclusion and diversity, and it’s reflected in both Ceylin’s and Will’s values and the roles they play bringing those to life daily.
“It’s not part of my engineer responsibilities,” shared Will, “but I’m also a mental health ally at BMS. I’m part of a buddy system; someone to talk to, not give advice, but to help people get the resources they might need. I did it in college as well but to have the opportunity to help people around me at BMS on top of a role I already love has been amazing.”
“I’ve noticed that everyone on the team is really good at making new employees familiar and comfortable with our workflows, process, and organization,” Ceylin agreed. “We’re always encouraged to reach out if we need additional support. That really boosts inclusiveness in the team and the company.”