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Detrick Researcher Finds Path Through Biotech Master’s Program

Communications Staff

Working as a biologist at a fish hatchery identifying and treating parasitic infections, Chance Carbaugh, MSB’16, decided early on that education would play a key role in moving his career ahead.

chance-carbaugh-300.jpg“I knew that in my field of study I needed an advanced degree to achieve the goals that I have for myself,” Carbaugh says. Already holding a bachelor’s degree in biology with a concentration in ecology/environmental biology, he decided to seek more specialized training.

Carbaugh found himself taking a course in biotechnology at a nearby community college. While there, he was encouraged by the professor to explore classes at Mount St. Mary’s University.

After learning about the Mount’s Master of Science in Biotechnology and Management (MSB) program, Carbaugh set up a meeting with its then-director, Matthew Rittler, Ph.D. “When I asked Dr. Rittler for a meeting the vision that he had for the program was tremendous and his enthusiasm was contagious,” Carbaugh says.

Carbaugh, now a researcher at Fort Detrick in Frederick, credits two program aspects with helping him gain an edge in his field: professors and course work.

The Mount’s MSB program is designed to educate individuals to successfully navigate the terrains of both science and business. It’s a cross disciplinary program, intended to complement the scientist's ability to discuss rational product design and the experimental processes with the skills necessary for a career in product development, marketing and personnel management.

“I had professors who taught more from experience than a textbook,” Carbaugh notes, adding, “[They] expressed deep satisfaction with their professions and provided a sense of accomplishment through their work and teaching.”

Carbaugh’s professors also supported him, not only inspiring him to work to get the most he could out of his time in the program, but also with how they provided valuable references after graduation.

“Through attending Mount St. Mary’s I not only obtained a master’s degree in biotechnology, I also gained valuable connections that allowed me to advance into my new position at Fort Detrick where I now work in an area that I thoroughly enjoy,” Carbaugh explains. “Without the added education and connections, advancement into the R&D section of biology would have been difficult.”

In terms of helpful courses, he cites protein biochemistry, molecular genetics, biotechnology and FDA regulations, and ethics in biotechnology. This last course, he believes, was the most important part of the program.

While the biotechnology and management program was enjoyable for Carbaugh, it was also rigorous and didn’t come without its challenges. “Trying to juggle a full time job while putting maximum effort into classes was difficult and there were many times that I wished I was capable of doing more,” Carbaugh reflects. But by recognizing this challenge early on, he adjusted his daily schedule, allowing sufficient time for his class work, job and family.

The recent graduate has found success by his own measure because of his hard work, dedication and a little help from the Mount.

“That meeting with Dr. Rittler changed my outlook on so many levels. I felt encouraged to continue my education and I found a field that had my complete interest. Attending the Mount has been the best decision that I have made in my life thus far.”

Carbaugh graduated in October 2016. He was one of eight of students in the inaugural cohort for the MSB program. To learn more about the Mount’s MSB program, visit

Communications Staff