Sarah Carter

Sarah Carter – Executive Director, Amgem

When were you at Polam?

I was at Polam between 1986 and 1991.

What did you study at Polam?

Biology, Chemistry, Physics and General Studies

What are you doing today?

Today I work for Amgem, the world’s largest Biotechnology company that focuses on developing new human therapeutics to help treat and prevent grievous illness. I’m Executive Director of Platform and Planning Services. My current role involves heading up a group of more than 80 staff who are involved in the delivery of the clinical trials to assess if our new drug products can help treat patients safely. My role is very broad as I oversee the components that provide the infrastructure for the teams involved in the clinical study execution. This includes diverse functions such as Quality Management Systems and Training, Global Supplier Governance, Clinical Applications and Analytical Services, Clinical Study Planning, Technical Services and Clinical Trial Disclosure. Each day is varied and we have to continually evolve our delivery to keep abreast of industry challenges and technology opportunities. It’s exciting – and based in California.

How did Polam help you to get there?

Polam helped me on two levels, firstly the most obvious. As a girl with a love of science I was able to pursue this passion fully supported by staff who believe that women have as much to offer in this arena as men. A previous school had advised that girls didn’t need to take three separate sciences – one combination at GCSE would be enough for their career paths. This view was not in line with my interests and Polam encouraged me to achieve my desired career in science. Secondly, Polam provides an environment that allows one to develop confidence and necessary social skills to support academic capabilities. I regularly have to present to large groups and meet with eminent medical thought leaders as well as senior executives within my own company. My grounding from Polam provides me with a strong platform of how to behave and present myself in varying situations. Core British values and manners go a long way.

What’s your best memory of Polam?

This is a tricky question as I was at Polam for five years in total, so have a lot of fond memories. I loved playing lacrosse on frosty autumn mornings and carrying out Chemistry experiments for long hours, hoping that the compound left on my beaker turned out to be the right colour and formula. I remember torturous history lessons with a teacher that had a fearsome passion for a subject I just could not grasp. How could I forget the professional musicals and performances? We felt that we could be in the West End. I could go on for a long time, but mostly it’s the friends I made, the laughter through the corridors, lots of fun and quite a bit of hard work.

Who was you favourite teacher?

So for me it is Mrs Dobson, always there as a coach and mentor as well as a teacher. Studying Biology through Sixth Form meant that she spent a lot of time teaching me in her class. That she would support us in our studies was a given, but she was always available when I needed someone to talk through a problem with or ask advice. Mrs D always cared about her students as much as she did the work that they produced! Mrs Kendrick and Mr Kipling were always there, too!