GMercyU Alumni Story Simona Jusyte

Meet Simona Jusyte

Biology, 2010

Current Position: Business Development Manager at WuXi Advanced Therapies

I chose to attend GMercyU for several reasons. Some of the main reasons were the great reputation of the Science department, in particular the Biology faculty, and the location and the feel of a “smaller” school. When I visited campus, I fell in love with the grounds and when I met the staff and advisors, I could see the passion they shared and the support they gave their studies.

Since I was a little kid, I thought I wanted to become a doctor. I joined the Biology Program with the intention of studying Pre-Med, however during my school years, the experience I had in the lab and getting an opportunity to intern at Johnson & Johnson during my junior and senior years, gave me an opportunity to fall in love with the laboratory aspect of it all. I loved the lab work and knew that research, which could produce drugs that can potentially cure diseases and help people survive, was something I wanted to contribute to.

Biology Program Experience

I cannot express how grateful and thankful I am to have been accepted into the Biology Program at GMercyU and the faculty I got a chance to interact with. The smaller atmosphere pushed me to do better. The connections I made with the Professors made me work harder to ensure I did not disappoint myself, but also them. 

Two professors who shaped my experience at GMercyU were Dr. Michelle McEliece and Dr. Felicia Corsaro-Barbieri. I believe they are amazing professors, who take the time to truly educate and lead their students. The passion they share for the Biology and Chemistry studies, respectively, truly shows when they are in the classroom. More than that, they are advisors and friends to students and they truly support them and push them when needed. I graduated more than a decade ago and to this day we keep in touch and I am beyond grateful and thankful to them. They assisted me and molded me to become who I am today.

GMercyU's Biology program stands a part because of its great curriculum and exceptional lab work utilizing great instrumentation and animal work to understand how Biology moves, transforms and works within us and the world.

Undergraduate Research

Within the university walls, one of the biggest research projects that stands out to me to this day, is the Drosophila (fruit fly) project we conducted. This was through the Genetics course, which allowed us hands-on experience of how genetic mutations are introduced into species and how they affect the world.

Outside the university walls, I had a six-month internship with Centocor which was an affiliate of Johnson & Johnson. The internship focused on research for antibody-antigen interaction analysis and characterization. I submitted my thesis for the Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology related to the work I did there.

Campus Life

I joined several organizations while I was at GMercyU. Some of the ones I truly enjoyed and that left a meaningful impression on me were the Best Buddies program and GMercyU's Alternative Spring Break Program. 

Through ASB, I received an opportunity to travel to New Orleans two years in a row. We traveled to New Orleans right after Hurricane Katrina to assist in rebuilding houses in the 9th ward. This is another example of what a great university GMercyU truly is, in allowing such trips to occur to assist not just the local community they support, but also the national community within our country.

Post Graduate Journey

I was lucky enough to secure a job after graduation working for a small startup in Philadelphia. The work I performed consisted of antibody development. I was there for several years and at the end of 2012 I received an opportunity to accept a job at WuXi Advanced Therapies. 

I have been with WuXI ATU through the majority of my career, as I am entering my 9th year with the organization in October 2021. I know not many people can say that they have been with one organization for the majority of their career, as people tend to move around and find different opportunities elsewhere. However, WuXi has been able to provide me with needed growth, experiences and challenges internally.  

I started as a technician in Virology Operations and this role was a lab-based role to support day-to-day assay testing for our clients. Through the years I have been lucky enough to have been promoted and eventually I became a Scientist, where I oversaw projects, trained staff and worked closely with pharmaceutical clients to understand the drugs they are making and challenges they are facing. 

About two and a half years ago, I made a choice to change my career and I took a position within the sales team. Today, I am a Business Development Manager supporting external testing needs for the Southeast territory for our clients. I never imagined myself going into sales, or leaving the lab for that matter; however this transition has provided me with a much different view of the pharmaceutical world and opened a lot more opportunities of where I can take my career in the next five to ten years.  

Why GMercyU 

GMercyU can contribute to you becoming that person, student and employee you want to be. The university offers an amazing curriculum program, staff that to this day I believe are some of the most intelligent, caring and passionate professors I have ever met in my life. The location and activities that allow you to have a student life you desire, whether it is joining sports, activities or relaxing and reading a book on the university grounds. 

The four years of your university life will shape you into a person you will become. Those four years teach us things we could have never imagined and make us the people, the students and the employees we become. 

GMercyU has strong values and supports the community and the world outside, which allows us to see things differently in some ways, opens our eyes to the world out there and helps us become better human beings.