Master of Science in Biotechnology Program, UW-Madison

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Case Study: Darcia Schweitzer

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I was a science teacher interested in a career change.

Darcia Schweitzer already possessed a love for education and a passion for science; she was a high school science teacher for eight years before deciding to apply to the Master of Science in Biotechnology program. She was considering a career change and had always been interested in biotechnology. Schweitzer felt a professional master's degree in biotechnology would give her the ability to further her career in teaching, as well as supply her with the knowledge and skills necessary for a transition into the biotechnology industry.

Leveraging undervalued skills.

She found the program's curriculum challenging and meaningful. She was able to learn essential business skills and knowledge about the biotechnology industry to which she was not exposed as a teacher.

"My high school teaching experience was a skill set I could leverage."

Schweitzer's strengths as an educator, though, made her an effective student able to organize complex projects and deadlines, manage busy workloads, and fluently discuss and write about cutting-edge science.

She found the face-to-face classroom experience enabled her to collaborate more effectively and build deeper connections with faculty, staff, and fellow students. The many team-based projects offered an excellent opportunity to hone the cross-functional skills she was learning. The broad mix of case studies, presentations and writing assignments provided a valuable assessment of her abilities for potential employers.

The program schedule was also a major consideration by allowing her to continue working while completing her degree.

"I had a family to help support and children to raise, so having flexibility in my schedule was important."

A successful career transition.

Finally, she found the professional network she gained through this program an invaluable resource when it came time to make her career transition a reality. From providing job recommendations and career advice, to helping envision a successful career switch, the professional relationships she built with faculty, alumni and student peers helped Darcia discover a new career in the biotechnology industry.

While Schweitzer still maintains her teaching certification, shortly after graduating in the spring of 2016 Darcia was hired by Promega Corporation as a Science Writer, thus completing a successful career transition from high school science teacher to biotechnology professional.


Master of Science in Biotechnology Program
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Established in 2002, the Master of Science in Biotechnology at UW-Madison is a two-year cross-disciplinary program for scientists, technical professionals, business strategists and attorneys seeking to advance their career in the biotechnology field without having to put their career on hold. The hands-on curriculum focuses on the development and commercialization of new technologies and provides a diverse mix of science, business, bioethics, public policy, law and intellectual property. Students are instructed by some of the best academics, professionals and lawyers in the biotechnology field.

Question about the degree?
Contact Bryan

Bryan Husk
Assistant Director
Phone: (608) 265-0773
Contact Bryan Husk, Assistant Director, M.S. in Biotechnology Program, UW-Madison
Darcia Schweitzer
Darcia Schweitzer
Class of 2016
Science Writer

Promega Corporation Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction