Heather Robinson, ’11, knew coming into college that she wanted to blend her two passions for chemistry and business.

Four years later, with a B.S. in chemistry and a minor in business administration, she will begin her professional career at AstraZeneca, a pharmaceutical company, as a regional sales specialist selling and promoting AstraZeneca products to local physicians and specialty doctors.

Robinson became interested in AstraZeneca because the company is based in her hometown of Wilmington, DE. In the fall of 2009, the University of Richmond's Career Development Center set up a panel of Richmond alumni who graduated with science degrees and went into the industry instead of graduate school. There, Robinson met Kevin Hamill, ’97, a sales director at AstraZeneca, who assisted her in landing an internship with the company that summer.

“During my internship, I made sure to establish a network of contacts,” she said. “One of those contacts was the HR director, Bill Warner. I had expressed interest in his recently launched Regional Sales Specialists program for college graduates during the internship and kept in contact with him throughout the fall.”

Over winter break, Warner requested that Robinson come to interview at AstraZeneca's headquarters. A few weeks later, she proceeded to the second round of interviews with a regional and district sales manager from the Delaware area — and then got the call.     

“When I received the news, I was extremely excited. After interning at AstraZeneca for the summer, I knew that this position was a good fit because of the company's culture, along with the career opportunities this first job would make available to me.”

As a regional sales specialist, Robinson will be educating and engaging healthcare professionals in dialogue about clinical evidence, approved indications, and product efficacy and safety profiles — along with achieving and exceeding sales goals while managing a budget.

“The RSS sales position will hopefully teach me crucial selling and public speaking skills that will be necessary to succeed in marketing,” she said. “It will also teach me to interact, sell and market to customers.”

After a few years in the field selling directly to customers, Robinson plans on getting her MBA before landing her first marketing position.

Robinson credits the University of Richmond with helping to prepare her for the job search in several ways — the small size has allowed her to get involved in several organizations on campus and take some important leadership roles.

Robinson is a member of the Delta Delta Delta fraternity, was a marketing intern for the Archimedes Initiative, completed undergraduate chemistry research with Dr. Goldman, was a chemistry tutor and inorganic chemistry teaching assistant, a student administration representative and an orientation advisor.

“Furthermore, the majority of my classes have required presentations where I have developed my teamwork and public speaking skills,” Robinson said. “Finally, the CDC helped me polish my resume along with my interviewing skills. All of these components have made me a strong candidate during the job search.”