Alumnus provides guidance for students
The Life After Laurier speaker series continued on Friday afternoon with its fourth Laurier alumnus speaker, Paul Smith, who is currently vice-president of sales and business planning for the biotech company Axela.
Smith graduated from Laurier in 1975 with a degree in chemistry. Since then, he has spent more than 28 years in the life science instrumentation field, primarily focusing on protein measurement and purification.
Recently, Smith worked abroad as director of European operations and then vice-president of European and North American sales for Ciphergen Biosystems.
“Science provides a foundation for a wide range of careers, not just science … think outside the [lab] bench,” stated Smith.
During his speech, Smith showed various photos of himself and his friends during their Laurier years and described a number of activities he was involved in outside the classroom.
He became a don in Little House, was on the dean’s advisory council and was also was elected in to the students’ union senate. He believes that these experiences and our school’s small but diverse and supportive community have contributed to his successful career.
Most recently, Smith joined Axela, a company that makes sensors for measuring protein, viruses and bacteria to contribute to life science research and faster clinical identification of illnesses.
Smith helps to commercialize Axela’s technologies through sales and partnerships with academic and pharmaceutical clients.
When asked about advice for student job searches in the science field, Smith explained that when he looks at applicants, it’s important that “people actually learn what we do.
Surprisingly, 98 per cent of people don’t. They should be able to express why our company has some relevance to them.”
He also pointed out that it is important for a student to be multi-faceted, and praised Laurier for its focus on having well-rounded students both academically and socially, as this is something that benefited him during his own job search.