Shane Ziemba '22

Alumni Spotlight

Shane Ziemba in Las VegasDegree(s): Major in Psychology (Neuroscience), Minor in Biochemistry

Current Position Title and Affiliation: Clinical Trial Associate at Acumen Pharmaceuticals

Summary of Position:
As a clinical trial associate, I’m involved in the planning, execution, and closure of an Alzheimer’s drug clinical trial. Currently, I’m helping close out a phase I study and preparing for phase II. My main responsibility is to oversee and verify the documents that enter our study database. Also, I write summaries of any important meetings, and make sure outstanding tasks are followed up on.

What do you love most about this career path?
I find clinical research very rewarding both personally and professionally. Firstly, I get to contribute toward the development of a therapy for Alzheimer’s disease, a condition close to my heart as it has directly impacted my family. Secondly, the operational side of clinical research is very stimulating. There are many logistical challenges that need to be navigated when coordinating a global clinical trial, and I get to be at the heart of it all, which I love. Lastly, being a remote worker allows me to have an excellent work life balance.

How did UMass and/or Psychological and Brain Sciences help prepare you?
I came to UMass like many, unsure what I wanted to do for a career. I only knew that I wanted to be in some way involved in the drug development process. UMass PBS equipped me with the knowledge and skills to prepare me for many careers in many fields. I am very thankful for professors like Lori Astheimer and Kirby Deater-Deckard for sparking my curiosity and inspiring me to learn more. As well as mentors like Cheyenne Tait, Paul Katz, and Erin Cherewatti for giving me the confidence needed to be successful in my career.

Advice for Current Students:
Be as proactive as you can in building your network. Do not be afraid to ask for advice/guidance. Giving is a prosocial behavior, and many people want to help (myself included). I found the CNS alumni list very helpful. For example, an alumni I reached out to pointed me in the direction of a research lab they were a part of. Had I not reached out, I wouldn’t have known about the lab, nor would I have a referral to increase my odds of joining. I completed an honors thesis for Paul Katz' lab, and I’d assert that my lab experience played a big role in getting my first job out of college.

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