Carnegie Mellon University

CMU alumna Ruby Julaj

September 30, 2022

Engineering Change

CMU alumna Ruby Julaj brings a new perspective to pharma and biotech

By Lauren Sisco

Carnegie Mellon University alumna Ruby Julaj loves building bridges — just not the ones you drive over.

She spends her work hours bridging technology and the pharmaceutical industry to change the face of clinical trials, and her free time bringing educational resources to underserved communities.

“I’m a big proponent of equity in opportunity,” Ruby says. “I want to bring my unique perspective to the work I do and encourage others to do the same.”

Ruby dove into the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry after graduating from the College of Engineering in 2018 with a degree in chemical engineering, spending time at Accenture and SSI Strategy.

Her newest adventure started a few months ago at Pfizer where she works in global product development. As part of Pfizer’s strategic solutions team, she works across business units, developing strategies that innovate clinical trials. She focuses on bringing new technologies to trials to deliver medications and treatments faster and improve the patient experience.

“I want to be able to understand patients’ needs, so I can create processes to serve them better,” Ruby says. “I love looking at data to make those decisions.”

In addition to her “so CMU” love of data, she leans on her Carnegie Mellon education daily.

The methodical problem-solving favored in engineering helps her communicate across departments, and her chemistry focus gives her a deeper understanding of medical and pharmaceutical colleagues’ needs. 

“I want to be able to understand patients’ needs, so I can create processes to serve them better. I love looking at data to make those decisions.”

Earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic, Ruby and her team developed ways to bring clinical trial components into homes. By decentralizing clinical trials, burden on the patient is reduced and a broader patient population can participate.

Providing access to industry-altering products like wearables that monitor chronic conditions and cutting-edge home health resources is exactly where Ruby wants to be in her career: at the intersection of it all.

“CMU always pushed me to try things outside of my comfort zone and strive to always keep my mind open,” Ruby says.

When she arrived at CMU, Ruby wasn’t sure what her university experience would look like as a first-generation student. But she was able to find her community of peers — specifically her fellow Hispanic students.

As a member of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Ruby met people who shared her interests, struggles and goals.

“I was able to find both a community and a professional organization devoted to individuals just like me,” she says. “It was incredibly important and impactful.”

“I’m a big proponent of equity in opportunity. I want to bring my unique perspective to the work I do and encourage others to do the same.”

Ruby has taken that focus into her work life, serving in Hispanic business resource groups to build awareness around her culture’s values and needs.

Her connection to the Hispanic community expands beyond her personal interests to reach out to those who may be struggling to find their own path.

Ruby volunteers with The Open Door NJ NY, a nonprofit organization that focuses on immigrant communities and the skills they need to build their lives in the United States.

At Open Door, the New Jersey native taught classes that help others gain their high school diplomas, master English as a second language and gain computer skills.

“I had certain opportunities and learned the English language, so I was able to get the education and career I wanted,” Ruby says. “I want to use my position in life to help others gain the skills they need to pursue their dreams, too.”