Students get healthy dose of career advice

Cornell College students left the comforts of campus to explore future possibilities through a career tour in Des Moines with the state’s largest provider of hospital and health care services–UnityPoint Health. 

Chase Sonnemaker
Chase Sonnemaker

“The classroom can be extremely different from the workplace, so seeing and hearing stories from professionals experienced in the jobs you are hoping to get, really helps cement or change your career decisions,” said business analytics major from Washington, Illinois, Chase Sonnemaker.

Sonnemaker was one of 11 students who toured two UnityPoint Health hospitals–Iowa Methodist Medical Center and Blank Children’s Hospital on Feb. 6. The group also visited the corporate office to meet with the marketing, innovation, and analytics and data science teams. The Berry Career Institute organized this tour around both clinical and administrative careers.

“These tours provide a unique opportunity to look into different industries and careers,” said Berry Career Institute’s Senior Director Jodi Schafer. “Students get face time with potential employers and insight into careers they may not have known existed. The knowledge students gain from these visits often triggers new ways of thinking about their career path and is a starting point for looking into options they hadn’t previously considered.”

Students also make new connections by networking with the people they meet, which could lead to career or internship opportunities. Sonnemaker says he especially appreciated learning about the tools considered vital in his future field, which will help him focus his studies. 

“The tour cemented my desire to work in healthcare analytics and was encouraging because I learned that I was on par with the skills and tool knowledge required by this field,” Sonnemaker said. 

Amber Frazier
Amber Frazier

Amber Frazier wanted to build her knowledge base on the hospital network because she’s spending Block 7 doing an analytics internship with UnityPoint in Des Moines. Among other assignments, the business management and computer science major says she’ll carry out a project from start to finish. 

“I will likely be working with programs like Tableau, R, and SQL that they typically use in their department,” Frazier said. “Luckily, these are all programs I am extremely familiar with from my courses at Cornell!” 

Like Sonnemaker, the senior from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, says the career tour made it clear that she wants to work in the healthcare industry after graduation. 

“This is the second career tour I have been on and every company I have visited has helped direct me down the career path I am on right now,” Frazier said. “As employees discuss what they do in their roles, there are some that I get really excited about and some that I do not think I would enjoy at all. Whenever I look back at all the positions that seem exciting there is a clear pattern, which has given me a better understanding of what I want in a career.”

This marks the second of this year’s three tours organized by the Berry Career Institute that encourage students to explore different industries and careers. In addition to this trip to Des Moines, students also go to Chicago and Minneapolis during the 2019–20 academic year.