How I Defined My Work and My Impact by Kat Marcan
Carnegie Mellon University teaches students to be always-busy, hyperactive thinkers, with machine-like productivity levels. If you want to get good grades, have a social life, get enough sleep, manage your mental health, think about your future and do research about potential future employers and industry positions, get enough exercise, eat well, build meaningful relationships, and have enough time for yourself to breathe and reflect on your personal happiness and fulfillment, you need to be almost superhuman. Carnegie Mellon taught me that you will fail and you will feel lost. Maybe you make sacrifices and let some things slip. That, or you find a way. You adapt, you learn from your mistakes, you reflect on your progress, and you set yourself goals that are achievable and quantifiable.
My internship search was nothing but heartbreaking and frustrating. Rejection after rejection came in. Companies that I invested so much time and thought to, denied me, probably before an actual human even reviewed my application or read my carefully crafted cover letter. The process felt cold. I felt invisible. With OhanaHealth, though, my personality was translated and received openly.
Going into my summer after junior year, I felt a bit lost. I am a chemical and biomedical engineering major, but the industries of oil or big pharma did not resonate with me – in fact, they scared me a bit. I knew that I needed to get an internship that wasn't engineering-focused, or else I’d be stuck in the industry long-term. In a bit of a panic, I searched for opportunities that were more business-focused. At the same time though, I wanted to stay involved in the medical field because I had invested so much time into this area and find the impact incredibly valuable. OhanaHealth was a perfect blend of what I was looking for: critical thinking, dynamic teams, and work that has meaning.
Working at a startup was critical to helping me find my passion. It helped me figure out exactly what I want in my career and showed me what impact I could make. At my internship at Stratasan, I worked with the Strategic Resources Group. This work mostly involved data analysis and compiling strategy decks for clients. Though I was placed on this team and the work was interesting, I am hard-wired to always look for more.
Working closely with my manager, Stephanie Johnson, I was able to identify my interests and formulate possible contributions that I could provide to the company. Toward the end of my summer and on top of my role in my group, I had the opportunity to serve as a business analyst for the company. I created efficiency dashboards, reconstructed our team’s workflow, and identified metrics to analyze the company’s successes. CMU taught me how to set myself realistic and quantifiable goals, and being able to transfer that skill to help company progress was nothing but rewarding.
I did not feel trapped or limited in my position. Rather, I was fostered and encouraged to explore other areas within the company. I had access and exposure to many groups, heard about different company initiatives, gained insights into the industry, and recognized how my contributions held significance for Stratasan and made an impact in healthcare. Stratasan and the other companies that OhanaHealth works with are small; small enough where you can define your path, own your successes, and clearly see your direct and positive impact.