As a research and development (R&D) Associate Scientist for global biopharmaceutical company Celgene, Jennifer Paredesunderstands the importance of precision. Celgene’s Cellular Therapeutics R&D department develops innovative cell therapy candidatesto manage the causes and symptoms of diseases such as Chron’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis. The therapeutic targets that theR&D team develops are often early components of important advances in the medical health industry. Recording experiment details andclarifying results are vital.
Paredes focuses on the mechanics of cell behaviors, which is an important part ofdeveloping novel cell therapy candidates. The bulk of Paredes’ work takes placein the laboratory, planning and executing experiments. As a scientist, Paredes isresponsible for providing technical reports that explain her research focus, herexperiment plans, the outcome of those experiments, and the next steps.Thisscientific and technical documentation must match the level of accuracy andexactitude she uses in the experiments. However, Paredes found it difficult to clearlycommunicate the details of those experiments in her technical reports. “Without priorscientific technical writing training, that was a challenge,” Paredes says.
Paredes decided to investigate scientific and technical writing courses, but she realizedfew companies offered appropriate training. Then she found Hurley Write, Inc., a certifiedwomen-owned business. Hurley Write developed a custom scientific technical writingcourse to address the Celgene team’s highly specialized needs.
Right away, Paredes was impressed with the course structure created by Hurley Write’sowner and founder, Pam Hurley, Ph.D. “This was my first exposure to a scientifictechnical writing course,” Paredes explains. “The course was very interactive. Pammade sure to establish the fundamentals of writing and apply those fundamentals in ourwriting examples. She engaged the audience by using direct examples from our work.She encouraged group exercises and discussions.” She adds, “Pam’s knowledge andexperience are what led to our workshop engagement.”
Paredes learned the importance of conciseness and clarity in her writing, which she says is especially important because her readershave limited time to read. She also learned how to identify the audience and their needs. “The most important feedback I received wasto be direct and not too verbose with my writing,” Paredes says. “Now, I make sure to explain scientific details with clarity and alwaysensure that the main point and purpose are clearly understood within the first couple lines.”
Paredes saw improvements immediately. And, since taking the course, she has changed her approach to writing. “This writing coursehas helped a great deal,” she says. “Now I always reread what I write and make sure it’s not complicated, vague, or unstructured.”Paredes is certain that working on her writing style has improved the quality of her work.And other members of her team share herconstructive opinion: “Since the workshop, I’ve received positive feedback from others describing their experience and how it hashelped them improve their writing.”