Students at Weill Cornell are getting into the swing of a New Year and new semester - for me, my second semester. As part of the full-time, accelerated Health Informatics program, I am currently one semester down and feeling one semester stronger! I am glad to say that my first trimester was one of growth. Being an international student, I had moved back from the U.K. to the states after 3 years, and was attempting to adapt to the city while transitioning to full-time academics. Luckily, the warm faculty members and my welcoming contemporaries made this phase as smooth as possible. Not to mention, New York's uplifting vibe, which can keep anyone spirited!
Full-time students were required to enroll in four courses and gain direction on their group research projects. The course consisted of Introduction to Health Informatics, Research Methods in Health Informatics, Biostatistics (integrating an R programming lab), and Healthcare Organization and Delivery. It was interesting to see how all the classes connected and how intellectually challenging they were in their own ways. This course format provided me with a strong foundation and insight into the field as I delve into more coding-intensive classes and prepare my search for jobs this year. Simultaneously, the energy and company of my peers really helped me feel at home. We were able to mingle with class members at planned school events such as the Bowling and Holiday Party Nights. The students also made an effort to follow up outside of school where both Health Informatics and other Healthcare Policy and Research graduate students bonded as well. Below are recent pictures from The Jeffrey, a fun beer and bites place, which might just become a regular study break spot!
As this semester progresses, I have realized the importance of diversity to engender a healthy learning environment. At Weill Cornell, our accomplished faculty members are always encouraging us to be open and share our viewpoint directly. I am pleased to be amidst peers from diverse backgrounds, who, like me, are venturing into the field of Health Informatics.
Our student body consists of individuals from diverse backgrounds, encompassing Law, Economics, Engineering, Biological Sciences, and Medicine. This melting pot in a class environment leads to enriching discussions. For example, while one approaches a topic from a health insurance perspective, another shares an insight from a physician's perspective. A strong set of common beliefs on human values and desire to connect is exactly what drives collaboration amongst contemporaries, and growth as we continue to learn from one another.
The department is also composed of incredible people hailing from different cultures. From a personal perspective, this has sparked curiosity to engage with others to learn more about how their journeys have shaped their views. It has been pleasing to see such collaboration and cohesion within the program, and how Weill Cornell continues to value diversity and inclusion initiatives at all levels of the university community (faculty, staff, and students).
SI can certainly say the month of March is one of the most pivotal times of the school year. Aside from everyone preparing for midterms and focusing more heavily on Capstone projects, it is also an important stage for students to begin considering opportunities that will expand their skillset and prepare themselves for life post-graduation.
As an international student, I thought gaining U.S. work experience would be the most constructive use of my time outside of class. Luckily, Weill Cornell provides an abundance of resources and the staff is continuously looking for creative ways to provide opportunities for their students. This semester stands as a perfect example of how the Weill Cornell network helped me land a part-time job. I was on the hunt for a role that would position me for an easier transition into the working world within the healthcare arena. The following are some ideas and tasks I followed and also some that I would suggest:
In my case, I connected with a recruiter online and the ISO provided me with useful materials to prepare me for the interview process. I was able to immediately gain references and assistance with paperwork from Weill Cornell faculty members, which facilitated me in landing a part-time job with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). I currently work as an HR Program Assistant where I am required to extensively work with databases, effectively communicate with clients, and promote the institute's diversity and inclusion initiatives. I believe the role complements my degree as I gain a chance to explore informatics from an HR-angle, but also learn more about the daily operations of a renowned National Cancer Institute like MSKCC. If there is one thing I have learned this semester, it is the philosophy that one should “never be afraid to ask a question” because that is always the first step towards progress! During my job search, simple steps like this enabled me to become more knowledgeable and to keep finding better answers. :)