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Featured Alumnus: Ashwin Cherian


Ashwin Cherian received his undergraduate degree in biotechnology and was working as a Project Coordinator for a nonprofit organization in Maryland when he set out to find a program that focused both on management and biotechnology.

UMBC's Biotechnology Master's in Professional Studies (MPS) is designed for science professionals, like Cherian, who want to pursue management and leadership roles in biotechnology-related companies or agencies.

“I was always interested in getting into the management side of the biotechnology or the pharmaceutical industry,” Cherian said.¬† “I thought getting into UMBC and enrolling in these courses would definitely help me get ahead in my career.”

For Cherian, the most valuable component of UMBC’s biotechnology program was the faculty. UMBC’s Biotechnology program is led by a distinguished faculty spanning the departments of Biological Sciences, Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Chemical, Biochemical and Environmental Engineering.¬†

“We had professors who are very experienced in their field,” Cherian noted. “They have had about 15-20 years in the industry, and you get to learn a great deal of things from them.”

UMBC’s Biotechnology program provides students with practical skills that can be immediately applied in the work place. This enabled Cherian to acquire professional experience in biotechnology while still a student, first as a Graduate Assistant in the biotechnology department and then as a Project Management Intern at a biotechnology firm in Maryland.

“The program has definitely helped me advance my career,” Cherian said. “It’s helped me move from one organization to another and also grow at the same time.”

Immediately after graduating from UMBC in 2013, Cherian started working as a Project Manager for the California-based biotechnology company, Elcelyx Theraputics Inc.  Considering the fact that Biotechnology is one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the United States, Cherian credits his UMBC degree with helping him get ahead.

“My supervisors recognize the value of my degree, especially with Maryland being the hub for the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries,” he explained. “A degree from UMBC is definitely recognized by everyone.”

Watch a Video Interview with UMBC Cybersecurity Alumnus Ashwin Cherian