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Alumni Profile: Meghna Samant, '00, Computer Science/Math
From Mumbai to CSE, to a career in biostatistics and global drug development

Morristown, N.J. (August 15, 2016) – "I loved every single minute at the College of Saint Elizabeth!"

Meghna Samant, '00, was born in Mumbai, India. When she was in high school, her father, who was in the banking industry, was transferred as an expatriate to the Fiji Islands. Meghna reveled in a new culture, which she describes as quite different from the Indian culture.

"I enjoyed living in Fiji, learning about the Pacific culture, and the move was a good stepping stone for my move to the U.S."

From Fiji, Meghna decided she wanted to pursue college specifically in New Jersey because she had relatives living here. She chose College of Saint Elizabeth because it was small, beautiful, and offered a financial aid package.

"Studying in the U.S. gave me the best possible education and great opportunities to learn about many things outside of college," Meghna says. "Being here for college allowed me to develop a well-rounded personality and lifestyle."

"CSE was amazing," she explains. "As a 17-year-old who had never been in the U.S., I was welcomed by my classmates and the professors. They gave me opportunities to expand my world beyond campus."

Meghna was interested in computer science and math, which she studied with great passion. She participated in a summer program for women in mathematics at George Washington University where she went toe-to-toe with students from other universities around the US.

"My education at CSE not only allowed me to compete, but to compete well!"

While at CSE, Meghna was on the tennis team, the international students club, the volunteer committee and participated in many student activities. "I was never bored!"

With a degree in computer science and math, Meghna was accepted into the combined master's/doctoral program in biostatistics at University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).

"I had always also been interested in biology and biostatistics allowed me to combine the three spheres."

After graduating with her Ph.D. in 2005, Meghna joined Roche/Genentech, the world's first biotechnology company and a world leader in oncology research and medicines. A dream job coming out of graduate school, Meghna continues to be excited about working at Roche/Genentech and making a meaningful positive impact on the lives of cancer patients.

"My work is not nine-to-five; it is a lifestyle and I am passionate about it," says the associate director for a group of biostatisticians in hematology.

Besides biostatistics, Meghna has had broad leadership opportunities to lead global teams focused on cancer drug development and portfolio decision making and strategy. She also spent a year-and-a-half in Basel, Switzerland on an expatriate assignment where she held leadership positions in early drug development and had the opportunity to learn about the Roche headquarters and global affiliate structure.

"CSE was the foundation for all of this," she exclaims. "My learning and experiences at CSE prepared me to move in this direction and be successful."

Meghna is a multi-faceted person with many interests, skills, and passions. Besides being doting parents of a two-year old, she and her husband love sports and play badminton and tennis.

"I never thought I would say this, but I have also taken a liking to golf," she muses and plays whenever possible.

She enjoys music and is an avid student of Indian classical music. The family loves to travel. They spend time with family in India and travel as much as possible.

"I love to experience new places," she says. "I think the one continent I have not yet visited is South America and it's high on my list of places to experience."

"CSE gave me a wonderful introduction to the United States and set me up for success in everything that followed. Every single person on that campus made it special for me and the campus is a safe and supportive place for impressionable young students," she explained.

"I would say to a new CSE student, 'Get involved in everything you possibly can. Don't limit yourself. Experience, explore and discover – this is one of the best stepping stones you will have in your career and your life.'"

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Founded in 1899 by the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, the College of Saint Elizabeth has a strong tradition of concern for the poor, for developing leadership in a spirit of service and social responsibility, and a commitment to the promotion of women as full partners in society.

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