For International Women’s Day, we conducted an interview with Charlotte. She has been with ALTEN for four years, lives in Brussels and works as a consultant for our Life Sciences division. Besides her interest in science, she has a passion for discovering the world and hiking. Her most spectacular hike took place in Patagonia, Chile.
“I studied bio-engineering in Brussels and after that I also completed my PhD. My first contact with ALTEN was through a Business Manager who had called me after reading my profile online. She immediately enthused me about the possibilities ALTEN could offer in the field of Life Sciences. This is when my career started four years ago. I have now worked on three projects, for three different clients in different environments, which is very valuable. From a Project engineer in a big pharmaceutical company for process validation, to a Process engineer, responsible for process development in collaboration with scientists. Currently I work for a molecular diagnostics company in Mechelen as an Industrialisation expert. Here I am involved in the development and verification of new assay and manufacturing processes. I transfer the design specification defined by the R&D team to the manufacturing line”.
When did you start to have an interest in the Life sciences area?
“My interest in life sciences started quite early. I knew that science is a direction that suits me well, I was always interested in biology and chemistry. Therefore, it was clear to me that I wanted to work in the pharmaceutical industry and focus my career on it. After my studies, I discovered that working in the molecular diagnostics industry was also very interesting. Something that I had not recognised during my studies, but which I have experienced through the various projects at ALTEN. It is good to be challenged outside your comfort zone. And there is so much more to discover because the pharmaceutical industry is so broad and then there is also biotech. In short, I’m not done learning for the time being.”
How do you see yourself evolving at ALTEN?
“I see that I have learned a lot in the past four years, working on different projects. The business managers at ALTEN encourage me to keep challenging and developing myself. They keep motivating me to follow training courses. I hope we can continue evolving like this, because it helps me to extend my horizons.”
What do you enjoy about working in a scientific environment?
“When working in Life Sciences, you know that the work you do is very important to society. You can reduce patients’ pain, improve their health, or even save their lives with the help of medication. That’s an important factor. But more to myself, I learn and improve every day. It’s really the variety that pushes us to think out of the box every day, it’s really challenging and that’s why I love working in this environment.”
How do you experience being a woman in science?
“The Life Sciences industry employs many women. We work in teams with women and men and, frankly, in the teams I have worked in and with there is no difference between the two. I am very happy about that because it makes me feel at home.”
What is your biggest pride?
“I am immensely proud that what I have learned contributes to the pharmaceutical industry. Both scientifically and in terms of communication. There is still so much to learn when you have completed your studies. In the meantime, I have also had the opportunity to assist several students with their thesis, whereby I have been able to develop my mentoring and coaching skills. I now see that all these different experiences help me to develop myself and grow in my work. Learning never ends.”
What advice can you give to women who want to go into science careers?
Go for it, believe in yourself, there is no reason you are not able to do it because you are a woman.
Are you interested in a position as a consultant for our Life Sciences division? Click here…
Thank you Charlotte for sharing your story with us on International Women’s Day!