Industry based learning for Monash BDI students

2020 GSK Industry-Based Learning program interns with Associate Professor Barbara Kemp-Harper.
2020 GSK Industry-Based Learning program interns with Associate Professor Barbara Kemp-Harper.

Each year, global healthcare company GSK runs an Industry-Based Learning Program for students to gain invaluable hands-on work experience in their chosen field. This year, five Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) Pharmacology students have been offered positions in this competitive program.

William Galgano, Emma Polhill, Evan Harnick, Callum Wilkinson and Ella Xu will begin their internships at GSK in early 2020.

William Galgano will be based at GSK’s head office in Abbotsford, working in the pharmaceuticals technology team. Here, William will work with all of GSKs technology and assist in managing communications and promotion of new technologies. Working with clients and partners to ensure they get the most benefit from the products, William hopes to learn all he can about the pharmaceutical industry and the processes involved in using technology in a company of GSK’s size.

“I look forward to meeting likeminded individuals and building on my networking skills. This internship will take me to a more experienced level, improving my technical and professional skills,” William said.

“I’ve always been very interested in the pharmaceutical industry and the IT industry. I think this program will be perfect for combining my passions and making the most out of these opportunities so I can have a strong start to my career,” he said.

Emma Polhill will work in the medical affairs team, collating and interpreting scientific information relating to disease areas and associated medicines and vaccines developed by GSK. This information will then be fed through to a variety of projects across the company.

“This sounded like a fantastic opportunity to challenge myself and a great chance to apply some of the skills I have gained throughout my time at university to real projects in the industry,” Emma said.

“I hope this internship helps me to better understand the industry and gives me some more direction for where I’d like to head with my career,” she said.

Evan Harnick will be working in GSK’s regulatory affairs division, preparing information for submission to the Therapeutic Goods Administration for medication approval. Applying his knowledge and skills developed while studying pharmacology at Monash, Evan will gain in depth understanding of the  process of getting medications approved for market in Australia.

“Ultimately, I applied for this internship because I want to apply my knowledge and skills to real-world applications. Being able to work at GSK is a great privilege that will build on my undergraduate degree and provide invaluable experience,” Evan said.

“I hope to make a substantial contribution to the field of pharmaceuticals and better the lives of many patients around the world. I also aim to develop and strengthen my communication skills working alongside other interns and fellow GSK employees,” he said.

Callum Wilkinson will be based in clinical operations, overseeing progress at all stages of clinical trials. This stage is fundamental in assessing the pharmacology, efficacy, and safety of medications.

“I can’t wait to learn as much as I can whilst with GSK. I really enjoyed studying pharmacology at Monash and am interested in a potential career within the pharmaceutical industry,” Callum said.

“Associate Professor Kemp-Harper did a really good job of promoting the IBL program, and I saw it as the perfect opportunity to gain first-hand experience working for a global pharmaceutical company,” he said.

Ella Xu will also be based in clinical operations, and will provide support to the clinical operations team in conducting clinical trials by assisting in processing safety data and study budgets alongside reviews and submission of important trial related documents.

“I gained a particular interest in learning about medication development throughout my pharmacology studies, and believed it would be a great opportunity to further develop and integrate the skills and knowledge from my undergraduate degree into a practical experience,” Ella said.

“I hope this internship will open new doors to new areas of interest in pursuing a career in the healthcare industry, and ultimately being able to participate in creating a positive impact within the community,” she said.

As she does each year, Associate Professor Barbara Kemp-Harper supported the students as they applied for these internships.

“The GSK IBL Program is highly competitive, so it is a fantastic achievement for each of these students. These internships provide the opportunity to gain invaluable experience working in the pharmaceutical sector and provide an excellent foundation for their future careers,” Associate Professor Kemp-Harper said.

“It’s great to see another group of driven, enthusiastic pharmacology students making the most out of the knowledge and skills they have learnt here at Monash,” she said.

Monash BDI pharmacology students have been successful in securing internships through this program for the last four years. This is a testament to the quality of their education and the support of their teaching staff. Of the more than 1,630 applicants, just 37 students were offered internships, 13 of whom were students from Monash.


About the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute

Committed to making the discoveries that will relieve the future burden of disease, the newly established Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute at Monash University brings together more than 120 internationally-renowned research teams. Our researchers are supported by world-class technology and infrastructure, and partner with industry, clinicians and researchers internationally to enhance lives through discovery.