Just like every other UChicago student enjoying the end of summer break, I’ve been spending my time doing some carefree reading, traveling, and binge-watching Netflix shows.
However, I knew I wanted something to pursue this summer related to my academic passions, such as a research opportunity or an internship. After my first year at UChicago, I spent my summer conducting early childhood development research with the Thirty Million Words Initiative. This summer, after my second year, I wanted to turn my focus toward my major, public policy. I wanted to find a position that combined my love of public policy and healthcare.
I found an opportunity to do Medicaid and public health research in conjunction with a professor in Idaho. For two months, we conducted fiscal evaluations of healthcare policy and collected stories from Idaho residents on their respective healthcare experiences. In the end, I was able to publish a report on how social determinants of health, such as availability and quality of housing, were affecting the life expectancy of the average Idaho resident.
It was safe to say I was out of my comfort zone doing field research in Idaho. A new state, a new job, and a host of complex nuances loomed large before me. Yet these past two months have not only solidified my passion for public policy but have also begun to solidify my career aspirations. Rather than focus on a career in public policy research, I want to explore opportunities to become more involved with healthcare policy at the federal level – an adventure for next summer, perhaps?
University of Chicago students are encouraged to challenge themselves in this capacity over the lengthy summer months. Even after first year, students jump on opportunities to explore potential careers and academic passions. With constant assistance from the Office of Career Advancement, paid Metcalf Internships, and research opportunities, diving into a summer of experiential learning is more than easy at UChicago.