Graduate Alumna Focus | Heather Hill Named Emmes VP
"My advice would be to be open to possibilities and opportunities that you encounter in life, as they may not be exactly what you envisioned, but you may find yourself doing incredibly rewarding work that you enjoy"
Heather Hill, M.S. Environmental Biology
- Environmental Biology (M.S.)
Hood College graduate Environmental Biology alumna, Heather Hill, was recently named VP of Emmes.
Could you please tell us more about your educational and professional background?
After I completed my B.S. in Biological Sciences, I joined the Army as a Biological Research Assistant assigned to work on extending the storage life of red blood cells at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.
In 2002, I joined Emmes as a Data Manager for clinical trials in infectious diseases, where I have worked my way up through Project Manager, Project Director, Research Unit Leader and now as Vice President.
You have just been promoted to VP of The Emmes Corporation. Could you share a bit about your company?
Emmes is a full service Contract Research Organization (CRO) specializing in clinical trials.
We have been in business for over 40 years, supporting trials in more than 75 countries on 6 continents. Emmes is headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, with offices in Frederick, Maryland, Tysons Corner, Virginia, and international offices in Vancouver, Canada, and Bangalore, India and currently employees more than 750 staff, including biostatisticians, data managers, project managers, clinical research associates, computer programmers and analysts, regulatory specialists, and other staff.
Our mission is to contribute to public health through our support of research initiatives in a wide range of therapeutic areas. Most recently, we are supporting two NIH trials for coronavirus, one a therapeutic and the other a vaccine candidate, at breakneck speed.
How is your new role different than your current one? Why is this position exciting?
My new position offers more leadership at the corporate level, while allowing me to spend most of my time doing what I love--Infectious Disease research projects.
The VP role includes the responsibility of representing the Vaccines and Infectious Diseases therapeutic area in business development and initiatives with other therapeutic and corporate leaders.
Emmes has been a growing company for as long as I’ve been here, so it’s exciting to have a voice in our growth, to help all staff work to their fullest potential, and to continue our exciting contributions to public health.
Has your Masters degree help in developing your skills and reaching your career goals?
I think any learning experience is helpful in building a body of knowledge that you may need in even unexpected ways.
I earned my MS in Environmental Biology from Hood College, but the research principles are applicable to any area of focus, including the clinical trial industry. There are intersections between environmental factors and infectious diseases, so having a well-rounded education in environmental biology is nothing but beneficial when studying infectious diseases, vaccines, and the assays and data analyses involved.
My time at Hood allowed me to become a stronger writer, critical thinker, and reviewer of data which are skills I use every day.
What would be your advice to students who are currently graduating from Hood College, and are looking for a job?
My advice would be to be open to possibilities and opportunities that you encounter in life, as they may not be exactly what you envisioned, but you may find yourself doing incredibly rewarding work that you enjoy.
When I was earning my MS in Environmental Biology, I had a clear vision of what I would do with that degree. I ended up taking a different path, but I wouldn’t trade what I have done for the world.
The experience at Hood was of enormous value to me personally and professionally, and I think I’ve spent my career in what has been a perfect fit for me.