Our first summer reflection comes from Vice President of Campus Engagement, Abby Beier, who stayed in District this summer doing health policy work. Check out her thoughts below!
My day to day was pretty variable, but I would usually walk into work at 9am and start the day off by checking my emails. Pro tip: If you live close enough to work, I highly recommend walking. Earlier in the summer (read: before DC became an inferno/swamp) I would walk to work every day with my roommate and it was such a great way to ease into the workday. Often I would be sent to cover congressional hearings, industry info sessions or meetings relevant to the projects I was working on. I spent a lot of time learning the complexities of how pharmaceutical products are priced for consumers and how Medicare payment models impact the healthcare industry. For me, work was genuinely fun. Everyone in the office was so accomplished, so inspiring, it was difficult not to fan-girl sometimes. I spent the previous two summers in a research lab, and despite how kind everyone in lab was, I did not enjoy the work itself. This summer served as a much-needed confirmation of the path I want to pursue after graduation, and how it might be a bit unexpected compared to other biology majors.
Here’s my summer highlight reel:
- Hands down, the coolest thing I was able to do for work this summer was attend the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Seeing Hillary Clinton accept the party nomination and being present for her speech was a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget. (Side note: she proudly declared that she believes in science during her speech and it was the best thing that has been said throughout this absurd election cycle)
- J&J is a rockstar company for supporting the development of their employees, especially women. I attended a Women’s Leadership Initiative presentation where we discussed women in the workforce, broadly as well as specifically at J&J, and how gender equality in the workforce varies internationally. Not only that, but the CEO of J&J, Alex Gorsky, spoke at the White House United State of Women Summit this summer about the company’s commitment to families, gender equality and economic empowerment.
- On my last day of work this summer, my boss invited a bunch of people from the office to a farewell lunch. It meant so much that such an accomplished group of people wanted to say goodbye and thank me for the work I did this past summer, and share their wisdom as I entered the working world. I hope I am lucky enough to end up working alongside people who care about having fun with their coworkers as much.
And a last piece of advice to Stemmenists looking for direction: cast your net wide! It’s much easier to approach the job search as a process of elimination. Every experience, whether positive or negative, will teach you something about the types of projects you like to work on, what type of work environment allows you to produce your best work, and will introduce you to people who might be able to facilitate your next career move. Go out there and get ‘em tiger.