Fung Feature: Tara Armand on bridging academia and engineering

Tara Armand, MEng ’17 (BIOE), currently works as an R&D Scientist at Siemens Healthcare Laboratory. A two-time Cal graduate, Tara takes us through her academic and professional career, and provides some tips for current students.


Tell us about yourself!

I supplemented my academic training with research in Biochemistry, Chemistry, Molecular Biology and Enzymology. I worked in the labs of Prof. Judith Klinman, Prof. Luke P. Lee, and Prof. Teresa Head-Gordon. I have four co-author papers as a result of the research I completed as an undergraduate, the most recent of which was just accepted to JACS where we discovered the missing link in the biosynthesis of Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ), a redox cofactor that is involved in bacterial metabolism.

With the vast research experiences obtained during my time at Cal, I decided against going to medical school, since my goals were increasingly focused on the innovation and R&D side of healthcare. Not only that, I had also started to develop an interest in leadership roles within the biotech industry.

What made you choose the MEng program?

What was your time like in the program, both in and out of school?

Additionally, personal well-being has always been an important part of my life so even during my busy schedule, I would go to the gym 3–5 times a week to weight lift or hike up to Big C to catch the sunset. Tilden is also fantastic for the occasional weekend hike!

What was your Capstone project?

At the end of the year, I had developed as a technical engineer and scientist, and learned a multitude of engineering skills.

What skills learned from the MEng program have proved the most valuable in your career?

Additionally, I learned how to keep up in an academic area outside of my training. Having had much more hands-on experience in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology than pure engineering, my Capstone experience forced me to learn and produce quickly with high quality. This skill is helping me today in my current position, where I am primarily working in more clinical applications.

What inspired you to pursue your current career?

As you can imagine, my work is biology heavy, which was not my academic focus. However, my engineering background helps me tackle problems with a multi-disciplinary, application-based approach. I started at the company in May 2018 and have been rapidly growing and developing as a scientist and innovator, combining my engineering skills with fundamental science. I work alongside a team of exceptional scientists who have become very influential in my life and inspire me to work harder and push my limits every day.

Do you have any advice for current MEng students?


As told to Anna Liang// Connect with Tara.

Berkeley Master of Engineering

Content hub for UC Berkeley’s Master of Engineering Program. Explore the many ways our students, alumni, and faculty are contributing to thier field.

Thanks to Tara Armand

Berkeley Master of Engineering

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Master of Engineering at UC Berkeley with a focus on leadership. Learn more about the program through our publication.

Berkeley Master of Engineering

Content hub for UC Berkeley’s Master of Engineering Program. Explore the many ways our students, alumni, and faculty are contributing to thier field.

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