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How He Did It: Making New Discoveries in the Lab Blog Career 

How He Did It: Making New Discoveries in the Lab

Throughout high school in Winamac, Indiana, Caleb Schmicker knew he wanted to work in a scientific field.

“I have an older sister who is a nurse, so toward the end of my high school career, I was leaning towards a more hands on job in medicine, whether that either be a doctor, nurse, or pharmacist,” Schmicker said. “When deciding my major at Butler University, I wanted to choose something that not only aligned with my interests but was a degree that I could take many directions.”

In fact, his path did go in a new direction.

“Throughout my first year and a half at Butler, pursuing an advanced degree in medicine was still at the top of my desired career choice,” Schmicker said. “It wasn’t until I started taking advanced level classes that I started to make the switch to a lab-based chemistry job. I fell in love with analytical chemistry and working with instrumentation through some selective courses at Butler.”

While at Butler, Schmicker had an internship at a pharmaceutical company in Indianapolis, which opened his eyes to the world of drug development. Thanks to his work experience and choice of major, Schmicker got a job right after graduating (a semester early) as a Scientist 1 with Indianapolis-based AIT Bioscience. I didn’t have a goal to finish college before the typical four years but it worked out that way. I was able to take half a semester of classes during one of my summer breaks, which definitely helped. It was nice to be able to get ahead of the interview season with all of my classmates since their jobs wouldn’t be starting until June or July where I started in early January.

In his entry-level position, Schmicker followed specific methods developed by senior scientists, doing extraction chemistry for pharmaceutical drugs in development or on the market. He was recently promoted to a Scientist II position, which allows him to work in the instrumentation lab.

“I am constantly learning more about the pharmaceutical industry and the instruments that I help maintain on a daily basis,” Schmicker said. “There is never a day that I am doing exactly the same work as the day before.”

“AIT Bioscience is still a relatively new company and a smaller company as well. This provides many opportunities to learn from those with many years of experience but also teach those colleagues that come after you,” he said. “The amazing work that companies around the globe are doing to better the lives of people is great to see. I personally have seen the effects of the innovative medicines that have come on the market in the last 10 years, and being part of that growth is rewarding.”

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