Dr. June Lau already has a successful career practicing medicine in her home country of Malaysia. She has spent the last eight years as a physician, administrator, mentor and educator, having gained experience working in clinical practice in the heart of an emergency department.
"The dynamic, highly charged and raw nature of the emergency medicine environment has cultivated a deep sense of passion and duty in me to see health care as a precursor to improving the lives of others," she said.
In the years before coming to Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University, Lau was based at the National Institutes of Health in Malaysia, where she worked on COVID-19-related research and national COVID-19 statistics for the Crisis Preparedness and Response Center.
Now, Lau, a rising second-year student in Thunderbird's Master of Global Management (MGM) program, is looking to transition from her clinical practice into the global health and medical technology landscape. She believes in universal health care, and her dream is to contribute to making health care better for all.
"Technology can alleviate health care systems and delivery, thus improving care and ultimately the quality of life," she said. "I strongly believe that a better quality of life will eventually contribute to growth and productivity across the globe."
As a Thunderbird student, Lau saw an opportunity to create an alignment between her clinical background, technology and global management that will help her execute her aspirations in the next steps of her career and beyond.
"The MGM program has enhanced my view of the world," Lau said. "I see the next 10 years as perhaps one of the most crucial periods in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. With the knowledge I have already gained from this program and the potential brought about by the unification of technology with health care, I have the capacity to advance global health care and make it more equitable."
Wanting to help advance her understanding of medical and health technology, she took an internship with EdgeOne Medical. Co-founded by a Thunderbird alumnus, Jim McGough, EdgeOne is a U.S.-based contract development organization that specializes in supporting the development of drug-device combination products and regulating connected health care devices for five of the top 10 global biopharmaceutical firms.
During her internship, Lau had the opportunity to experience being part of a regulatory team with a strategic focus on programs and regulatory content development.
"Regulatory affairs are an important and essential part of a larger ecosystem in a pharmaceuticals or medical device company," she said. "Every medical product prior to being marketed requires a detailed review and conversation with many stakeholders. Understanding what they do is an important aspect of medical affairs and marketing strategy."
Lau is also a Thunderbird SHARE Fellowship recipient, a program founded by Thunderbird alumnus Marshall Parke '77 to develop changemakers from emerging and developing countries. The SHARE Fellowship awards merit-based scholarships to selected MGM students, empowering them to enact social change in their home regions. Typically, six students are chosen to join the program each year, and over the last 15 years, 87 fellowships have been awarded to students from 45 different countries.
The scholarship covers full-time tuition costs as well as funds to cover most expenses, thereby lessening the financial burden that often comes with life as a college student and enabling them to fully participate in campus life, internships and academic programs. Since awarding its first scholarships in 2008, the SHARE program has also attracted countless volunteers to serve as mentors to the SHARE Fellow recipients.
To support his vision, Parke brought in Maria Houle '87, a fellow Thunderbird alum, to be the program's executive director. She helps connect students to mentors, many of which are Thunderbird alumni.
"When exceptional students are free from financial concerns, they can focus on achieving," she said. "Philanthropy is crucial for SHARE because it allows students to have the bandwidth to develop their skills and business plans in order to make an exciting impact. The story of SHARE is very much a story of generosity."
Lau is grateful for the fellowship, saying, "I am grateful to all the alumni who have supported this wonderful program over the years and to the people I have met here — professors, mentors and friends — who have enriched my life. Most of all, I am grateful for my family and friends back home in Malaysia who constantly keep me grounded throughout my life journey."
The considerable generosity of donors, alums and previous fellows enable the SHARE program to continue and succeed.
"This is not a modest, 'feel-good' program. We are asking alums and others to make a serious commitment to share their success, both financially and personally. We each have our own way of giving," Parke said when speaking about philanthropy's fundamental role in the program.
To learn more about Thunderbird’s Master of Global Management program, visit thunderbird.asu.edu/mgm.
To learn more about the SHARE program and how you can help, visit asufoundation.org.
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