Fiona McDonnell

Class of 2019-2020

University College Dublin, 2017

Why I chose ESTEEM:

While I enjoyed my technical role in the Biotech industry, I was keen to develop other skills outside of my technical remit. I wanted to learn about the fundamentals of business to give me a more rounded view of how pharmaceutical organizations work. I felt that ESTEEM offered a completely immersive and innovative learning environment in comparison with other programs. The opportunity to work on projects rooted in science throughout the year was also important for me as I continue to develop my technical skills.

My capstone project and why I'm excited about it:

I will be working with a research group here at Notre Dame on a novel therapeutic for Niemann Pick Disease- Type C (NPC)- a rare, neurodegenerative disorder. I will be researching the FDA and international regulatory barriers associated with bringing a new drug to market while also developing a commercial launch strategy for the product. I'm excited to be working on a project that has the ability to have a meaningful impact for patients and their families.

What I hope to do after ESTEEM:

I would like to continue my career in the pharmaceutical sector post-ESTEEM as my passion lies in working to bring innovative scientific discoveries to patients that need them most. I am still unsure what job will help me do this, but I am looking forward to making the most of the opportunities that come up this year and seeing where they take me!

What I like to do when I'm not working:

When I'm not working you can usually find me watching sports and so I'm really excited to experience football season here at Notre Dame! I also love playing music and am hoping to join an Irish Trad group in South Bend this fall.

And, finally:

If you are thinking of applying for ESTEEM I would say go for it! I am learning so many things I didn't even know existed 6 months ago and I'm having a great time doing it! If you have any questions, ESTEEM or non-ESTEEM related, please don't hesitate to reach out! I'll always have time to talk, you can catch me on LinkedIn at