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Biomedical Writing Student Earned Her Masters From Home in Kenya

Published on May 12, 2020

Lilian OketchLilian Oketch BW’20 completed a master’s degree at USciences while living in Nairobi, Kenya through the online Biomedical Writing Program. Oketch has 15 years of experience in clinical research and sought out the program as a stepping stone to a new job and enabled her to pursue a PhD.

Oketch shared this reflection on her experience: 

I have been passionate about clinical research and I was persuaded that an MS in Biomedical writing would be a stepping stone to many professional horizons besides giving me an opportunity to interact with some of the best professors in the field of Biomedical Writing. Combined with my 15 years’ experience in clinical research, this program has made me knowledgeable, marketable, and equipped me with rare skills that make me stand out.

With the help of Danny Benau, PhD, professor and director of the Biomedical Writing program, I conducted independent research on hypertension.  The research focused on assessing the suitability of the information available to hypertensive patients on different websites. This gave me an opportunity to perform a comprehensive literature search and report my findings. 

I now feel confident performing literature searches, reporting my findings in a scientific manner, using statistics to describe and present my research findings, cite my work appropriately, and use reference manager software to manage bibliographic data related to research materials. In addition, I have gained competence in qualitative research, protocol writing, planning for clinical trials, executing clinical trials, and reporting the research findings in clinical study reports. Further, this course has been beneficial and has enabled me to write my research proposal for my PhD. 

It has been an extraordinary journey that has been life-changing. Indeed, I got more than I expected from this course.  I made sacrifices, such as attending lectures at 2 a.m. due to time differences, in order to reach my goals and I gained a great many skills, skills I am sure I would never possess if I did not take this course.

Biomedical Writing program has enabled me to secure a job with a global clinical research organization, a job that has eluded me for 12 years. My training at USciences has also equipped me with skills and knowledge about global regulatory processes.

Scientific writing skills are so vital to any research professional. Skills such as being able to search biomedical databases, read, write and edit biomedical text, and communicate results of research. I never thought I would be able to master these skills but the professors are so experienced and competent in the courses they teach. 

Even though I was taking my classes remotely, I felt so connected to my professors and classmates and I look forward to meeting them at commencement.  Indeed, I feel so connected and part of the USciences community. The virtual learning offered for this program by the University makes it possible for students even as far away as Kenya to benefit. 

USciences has given me a solid foundation in scientific writing, and I am now very confident when doing my work. I have now completed my studies and am looking forward to pursuing a PhD in Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance. In the future, I see myself mentoring young researchers on scientific writing in Africa.


Categories: News, Alumni, Biomedical Writing, Misher College of Arts and Sciences, Graduate, Student Life