Rachael Codding

Major: B.A. degree Sociology '04
Minor: Business Administration
Research Associate
Redwood Regional Medical Group, Inc.
Santa Rosa, CA

Sociology degree prepares for cancer research job

Rachael says…

Job duties? I coordinate the pharmaceutical industry sponsored oncology trials and the cancer prevention studies. This includes maintaining regulatory documents on site and submitting them to the Institutional Review Board for approval. I also compile and submit data on 132 follow-up patients on clinical trials who are no longer receiving active treatment and data on 12 active patients on data collection-only clinical trials.

Best thing about my job? The best thing about cancer research is seeing the real-world outcome from research I am directly involved with. Over time we make progress that leads to changes in standard-of-care. We improve quality of life, disease-free progression, and overall survival. The patient’s we come in contact with are the true heroes. They are the ones that show us how to live.

What I learned from my HSU education that prepared me for this job? My classes gave me the research experience needed to be hired in the medical research field without any medical knowledge. Those classes gave me the hands-on experience needed to become a qualified researcher. I have found that most jobs require a lot of multi-tasking, getting along with different types of people, and working well with computers. I would say that college overall prepared me for the working world by making me proficient in all these fields.

How I found my job? I kept an open mind thinking that I could make my sociology major and business minor work for me in many ways. I ended up landing my first job out of college at the local newspaper. I had no journalism experience or office experience but they hired me based on the fact that I had good general skills. I was able to highlight the attributes I had that they wanted and it resulted in me being hired. I found my current job in a Sonoma County newspaper. I e-mailed my resume with a cover letter to the person listed in the ad and I received a call back from the director of research. I had an initial interview and then a follow-up interview and was hired.

Career Center services I used to support my job search? I met three or four times with my career counselor before I graduated and communicated through e-mails after graduation. We discussed what types of jobs I wanted to look for after college. She assisted me in narrowing down my job search options to include only those I was truly interested in pursuing and showed me that I am full of skills and talents that are not necessarily reflected in my job history. She gave me ideas about how to write and format my resume. After updating mine I would bring it in for review and then I would take it back home and work on it some more. When I left school I continued to work on my resume and e-mail it back for review.

Job search advice? Prepare an organized resume and cover letter with help from the Career Center. It is free and the time spent will pay off hugely in the long run. They will help take your resume to the next level. You won't hear "yes" from every employer but don't get discouraged. When you land the interview, tell yourself that there is no way they are going to not hire you once they meet you face to face. You have to believe that you are the best candidate that they are going to see.