Student Profile: Elizabeth Nichols, Master of Science in Quality Assurance and Regulatory Science
In many ways SCS’s Master of Science in Quality Assurance and Regulatory Science (MQARS) program was tailor-made for Elizabeth Nichols. A senior compliance auditor at major, local pharmaceutical company with more than 20 years of experience in quality assurance, compliance, auditing and research and development, Nichols heard about the program at work before it began. “Northwestern surveyed me about what classes I wanted,” she remembers. With a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Illinois as well as certification in quality engineering and related topics, Nichols wanted to learn more about risk management and international regulations. When the program started and Nichols enrolled, she was able to take classes in those subjects and more.
“A key part of my work is determining how manufacturers manage product risk,” says Nichols, who travels to manufacturing plants in the United States and abroad. “Our instructor, Tina Krenc, helped write the ISO 14971 Risk Management standard. It was a great class. MQARS draws instructors from local manufacturers who are active in the industry,” she says. “My classmates are from different industries and companies and from Northwestern itself. We share our experiences and learn from each other as well as from our instructors.”
Nichols believes the MQARS program can benefit recent graduates as well as professionals with more experience. “For those in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries, I don’t think you can find a better master’s program.”