Meet Our Students

The MSHCPM program features students from a wide variety of professional and academic backgrounds, with career goals ranging from medical practice, to healthcare administration, to law. Get to know a few of our current and former students below:
Minal Singhee MSHCPM

Minal Singhee

Master of Science in Health Care Policy and Management - Class of 2016

Where is your hometown? Mumbai, India

Life Prior to graduate school- I completed my undergraduate and graduate education in Biotechnology at the University of Mumbai and started working at a top pharmaceutical firm in the Quality Assurance department. While working here, I realized that in order to grow further I needed a deeper understanding of the healthcare industry, which I knew could be achieved by pursuing education at a highly recognized institution.

Why did you choose Carnegie Mellon University's Heinz College? Learning about how Technology is converging with various industries. I was curious to uncover how it can contribute to the healthcare sector. I chose to pursue a professional degree concentrated in healthcare that would focus on the next big thing: ‘the Confluence of Healthcare and Technology’.
I remember the challenge of choosing between the different schools and conducting a thorough research to understand where I would fit in best was really helpful. Heinz is one of the top schools in the country with a strong emphasis on quantitative skills and technology. There were key areas that I looked at in making this important decision. Heinz encourages applied learning.
Heinz has always highlighted the importance of not only learning the concepts in the classroom but also gaining an experience by applying them in the field. The faculty members are highly recognized with vast industry experience. It has a huge alumni network that I am already able to take advantage by being in touch with professionals in the Industry. I was looking for a program which would give me an understanding of the entire healthcare system and also help me focus on the domain of my interest. In addition, the city of Pittsburgh is a healthcare hub of the US due to its highly esteemed hospitals and universities. It was an opportunity to learn from some of the brightest minds in the industry and I’m so glad I took that opportunity. In hindsight, this is turning out to be one of the best investment decisions I’ve made.

What was your internship experience? Aligning with my interest to expand my practical knowledge in this domain, I received an opportunity to intern at the Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) which aligned well with my interest to expand my practical knowledge in this area. There I helped plan their Health 2.0 Project for the upcoming year. JHF is a “Think, Do, Train and Give Tank” organization addressing the current healthcare problems through various programs and initiatives. The internship experience at JHF has been very enriching. I have learned the tools of LEAN management and Toyota Production System's industrial engineering techniques, and their applications in healthcare to improve the quality of patient care. Working on my project gave me an opportunity to understand the various issues we face in healthcare today and how can they be resolved using technology. I got a chance to connect with health IT entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, academics and clinicians to understand their diverse views and the role of IT in the future of healthcare.

What advice can you give to others about the MSHCPM program and Heinz College? The Health Care Policy and Management Program is very well structured. While it encompasses the core courses covering all the aspects of Healthcare including Policy, Management and Information Technology, it also offers various electives which helps you master the track you choose. Heinz is also flexible and allows students to supplement the core curriculum by adding courses from the different colleges under CMU. In addition to academics, there are numerous opportunities to collaborate with various projects and independent studies that enable you to gain a practical exposure during your semester. Speaking from my personal experience, I believe that the immense learning I gained and the skills I developed at Heinz has enabled me to stand out in my knowledge of the field and its practical application in the professional world.

Megan Steinmetz - MSHCPM

Megan Steinmetz

Master of Science in Health Care Policy and Management - Class of 2016 (Accelerated Masters' Student)

Where is your hometown? Berea, OH

What was your undergraduate major? B.S. Policy & Management and B.S. Decision Science

What are your career goals? I've always had a passion for political advocacy. My dream career would be to work for a political firm with a focus on healthcare. I want to use my skills in policy analysis and data analytics to make a meaningful difference in a cause that I believe in.

Why did you choose Carnegie Mellon University?  Because I attended CMU for my undergraduate degree, I was confident about the quality of education I'd receive continuing my studies at Heinz. Of course, the professors and classes at CMU are excellent. But it's actually the students here that ultimately made me want to stay for my Accelerated Masters. All of the students I've met at Heinz and CMU are fiercely passionate about their studies. It's always inspiring to hear other students talk about their studies, goals, and passions in life.

What was your internship experience? I have the privilege to intern at Treatspace, a health information technology start-up right here in Pittsburgh. Treatspace does wonderful work building connections between different entities in the world of healthcare. These connections bridge harmful gaps that often occur in healthcare. Many of my projects involve researching strategies to increase quality of care while decreasing costs.

What advice can you give to others about the accelerated masters’ program?  Plan ahead, especially if you are confident that you want to pursue an Accelerated Masters through Heinz. Try to take classes early if you can. That way, you will have freedom to take more Heinz classes your senior year.

Shaquille Charles - MHSCPM

Shaquille Charles

Master of Science in Health Care Policy and Management - Class of 2016 (Accelerated Masters' Student)

Where is your hometown?  Ardsley, NY

What was your undergraduate major?  B.S in Psychology with a concentration in Health Psychology

What are your career goals? To become an exceptional physician

Why did you choose Carnegie Mellon University? I chose to attend Carnegie Mellon University because it as an exceptional institution with amazing resources. The faculty work closely with their student and facilitate a learning environment by frequently engaging their students. This kind of attention and mentorship is difficult to attain at larger institutions. Carnegie Mellon also consists of motivated and driven students that seek success. In order to succeed in life you must surround yourself with other people who want to succeed.

Why did you choose the Heinz College?  I decided to attend Heinz College in order to learn more Health Care Policy and Management. This master’s program is a completely different perspective of the Health Care System than I am used to. I believe that in order to become an exceptional physician, you must understand all aspects of medicine that may influence your practice.

What was your internship experience? I am interning at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. Here I am analyzing a method by which we can utilize electronic health records across multiple institutions in order to conduct clinical research on idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). This approach has proven to be a difficult task because IPF is a rare disease that isn’t easily diagnosed.

What advice can you give to others about the accelerated masters’ program? Plan out your courses early and do not hesitate to ask your advisor or Dr. Jordan for some assistance because they will work with you. The MSHCPM program has exceptional faculty and it would be naive to not use them as a resource.

Jennifer Tharp - MSHCPM

Jennifer M. Tharp

Master of Science in Health Care Policy and Management - Class of 2014 (Accelerated Masters' Student)

Where is your hometown?  Charleroi, Pa

What was your undergraduate major? B.S. Ethics, History, and Public Policy

What are your career goals? To pursue a career in healthcare administration and/or health law

Why did you choose Carnegie Mellon University? I decided to attend Carnegie Mellon University as an undergraduate because of its interdisciplinary environment and excellent academics. Carnegie Mellon allowed me to pursue a Chemistry minor as part of the Science and Humanities Scholars Program while developing solid research and writing skills through my major.

Why did you choose the Heinz College? I chose to apply to the Accelerated Master’s Program at Heinz College because I wanted to learn more about healthcare policy and technology while developing quantitative skills that would make me a more knowledgeable and marketable manager or attorney. Because I attended Carnegie Mellon for undergraduate study, I had confidence that the school’s program would be enriching as well as challenging. The coursework involves numerous opportunities for group projects as well as direct interfacing with clients in the field.

What was your internship experience? I am a summer administrative resident at UPMC based in the Heart and Vascular Institute (HVI). My projects include working on a Microsoft Access database to automate the physician contracting process within HVI and assisting the Physician Services Division Legal Department with various contract-related projects.

What advice can you give to others about the accelerated masters’ program? Before applying for the program, I recommend having the majority of your undergraduate major completed, as this will provide more flexibility in scheduling and pursuing Heinz’s rich course offerings. When taking Management Science I and II, I advise entering the courses with an open mind for the challenges and opportunities they have to offer, as the work will pay off in the end. Finally, I highly encourage joining organizations such as ACHE and HIMSS in your first year so as to network with early careerists and professionals that can provide invaluable mentoring and networking experiences.

Danielle BAbb - MSHCPMDanielle Babb

Master of Science in Health Care Policy and Management - Class of 2014 (Accelerated Masters' Student)

Where is my hometown? Butte, MT

What was your undergraduate major? I attended Allegheny College in Meadville, PA for a B.A. in Political Science. I also double minored in Psychology and Classical Studies.

What are you career goals?  My career goals will vary based on the pathway that I begin after graduate school. I plan on applying to the Presidential Management Fellowship and to the Mayo Clinic's Administrative Fellowship Program in the Fall of 2013. I hope to begin a career in Hospital Management or become a Federal Employee. I hope to concentrate my career on improving the patient experience while simultaneously improving the work flow processes.

Why did you choose Carnegie Mellon University? Allegheny College maintains a strong relationship with Carnegie Mellon University. After my experiences at Allegheny College, I was eager to further my education at a academically rigorous university.

Why did you choose Heinz College?  Allegheny College allows students who have met the credit requirement for their major and minor to apply to different 3:2 programs. I was planning on finishing my undergraduate education a semester early so I began researching different options that fit my interests. I attended an information session that Heinz College hosted at Allegheny and began very eager to learn more about their programs. While I originally applied to the MSPPM program, I realized during the interview that the MSHCPM program was much better suited to my interests in the health care field. I also believed that the quantitative nature differentiated this program from other MPH and MHA programs that I was considering at the time.

What was your internship experience?  I have the opportunity this summer to work for the VA Pittsburgh Health System in the Veteran's Engineering Resource Center (VERC) and Office of Systems Redesign (OSR). I will work on various process improvement projects throughout the summer that will take effect locally and hopefully adapted nationally.
What other advice can you give about the accelerated master's program? While the accelerated master's program is challenging it also is rewarding for students who know they want to obtain a master's degree. Making sure that you are pursuing a degree that you are passionate about will make your accelerated experience worth every second.

What was your favorite experience outside of the classroom? I really enjoyed going to Pirates games at PNC Park. The tickets are cheap and I had the opportunity to see my favorite team (Chicago Cubs) play a few times.

Keara McKenna - MSHCPM

Keara McKenna

Master of Science in Health Care Policy and Management - Class of 2013 (Accelerated Masters' Student)

Where is my hometown? Mechanicsburg, PA

Undergrad major: Economics and Political Science

Goals: To continue learning and leading within organizations that take an innovative, systems-thinking approach to improving the health and wellness of all Americans.

Why did you choose Carnegie Mellon University? I chose CMU for their analytic and quantitative approach to public policy, which I believed would balance out the Liberal Arts education I received at Chatham. Now, as an alumna, I find myself easily working with people inclined in either direction and able to bridge communication between the two.

What was your internship experience? My internship experience was with the MITRE Corporation, a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC), that does a mixture of strategic research and consulting for the federal government. That summer I developed analysis metrics for high-performing teams, as well as worked with a team to become more high performing. Interestingly, that project had little to do with the health policy aspects of my degree, but a lot to do with the management side. I learned a great deal about people, motivation and leadership, which served me well throughout graduate school and in my current position at MITRE.

Advice: Be magnanimous. Surround yourself with innovative, loving people. Be generous with your time and knowledge (it will come back around to you). Take deep breaths, often if necessary, and remember that anything worth having is challenging at times.