The First PSM Degree in Washington State
The Professional Science Master’s (PSM) in molecular biosciences is designed to help students transition into the workplace by training them in skills that employers need. The interdisciplinary option is available online, or students can choose to take some courses on the Pullman campus.
The PSM combines science with training in ethics, business, management, and communication, bridging the gap between academia and the workplace. One career-oriented aspect of the program is that it requires a business internship rather than a thesis. The nationwide shortage of scientists with managerial and business training means PSM graduates will be well positioned for employment.
The PSM can be obtained completely online, or on-campus or in a hybrid format. The core components of the minimum 33-credit PSM, are courses in molecular biosciences, one course from each of 5 Professional core areas in Ethics, Communication, Business Focus, Management and Skills Seminar and a workplace based Internship. The PSM is an excellent career choice for:
- Recent graduates with a bachelor’s degree in science who want to expand their science knowledge and develop the business skills needed to enter their chosen career.
- Midcareer professionals seeking advancement and enrichment in their current careers.
- K-12 science teachers seeking additional education for career promotion and increased compensation.
A big welcome to our first international students on the Pullman Campus
We want to welcome three international students to the Pullman campus for Spring 2016: Aaditi Lele from India, Gregory Goh from Singapore and Inje Paek from the Republic of Korea. We hope that you all enjoy the academics offered on the Pullman campus and the quality of life offered by the city of Pullman during your graduate experience.
Kristina Hoffman: Internship Work Impacts the Public
Kristina Hoffman graduated with her Professional Science Master’s (PSM) degree in Fall 2015. Her internship was entitled ‘Improving the Effectiveness of Forensic DNA Testing Services Through the Application of Lean Principles’. Kristina is a full-time employee with the Washington State Patrol, and she is a Forensic Scientist in the Crime Laboratory Division, where she carried out her internship. Kristina recognized that there was a delay in the processing of DNA evidence samples, and the goal of her internship work was to determine if she could reduce the delay in sample processing by applying the principles of Lean Management. As such Kristina prepared herself for her internship by enrolling in a Lean Agility course; one of the PSM professional courses. During her internship she incorporated many Lean principles in various aspects of the workflow from DNA case assignment to DNA sample analysis and ultimately DNA sample result reporting. Based on Kristina’s internship work she was able to reduce the turnaround time of sample processing from 93 days to 71 days; that is a reduction of 22 days, while still maintaining a high level of quality sample processing. What does that mean and how does this internship work translate into the lives of citizens? Well, at its most simplistic—it means that if you were a suspect and you were in jail awaiting DNA analysis, your time in jail would be shortened by more than 3 weeks (assuming you were not guilty), or alternatively, a DNA sample can help identify a serial criminal, who may now be arrested 3 weeks sooner thus making communities safer!
The importance and impact of Kristina’s PSM internship are immediately translatable to the public at large and of course Kristina presented this work as part of her final PSM examination. We congratulate Kristina on her amazing impactful work, and we wish her the very best wishes with the next step in her career.
A Note From the Director
On November 11-13, 2015 I attended the 6th Annual National Professional Science Master’s Association (NPSMA) conference in Arlington, Virginia. It was a wonderful event in a fantastic location, and in keeping with the other conferences, I learned a lot. The event was attended by PSM directors, PSM alumni, university faculty and administrators as well as a former U.S. Representative for New Jersey. In addition presentations were given by staff from the National Science Foundation and the Council of Graduate Schools. Please visit http://www.npsma.org/2015-national-conference for the agenda and PDFs of some of the presentations. There are currently over 343 PSM affiliated programs in the US and PSM programs have recently been developed in Korea, Australia and the UK. The conference was very informative and I attended presentations on: the skills employers are looking for in employees, the employability of PSM graduates, how to improve the PSM curriculum and state wide initiatives on PSM program development. The NPSMA association organizes relevant workshops and conferences throughout the year and I encourage you to think about attending at least one of them. In addition, please remember that first year PSM students obtain a free one year membership of the NPSMA.