As part of our Day in the Life: Grinnell Alums series, we're catching up with Grinnell alum Maisie Lewis '19. Learn more about Maisie's experience at Grinnell, and where it led her professionally.
Fast Facts About Maisie:
Major at Grinnell: Economics and Psychology
Class Year: 2019
Favorite Class at Grinnell: Health Psychology
Current Job Title/Organization: Health Policy Research Associate at Mathematica (previously Mathematica Policy Research)
Hobbies: Running, yoga, finding new recipes to cook, volunteer tutoring in the Chicago area
Which non-STEM class at Grinnell had the biggest impact on you (professionally or personally)?
My tutorial - Ancient World: Homer and 5th Century Athens. It was by far the hardest class I took at Grinnell but my writing and critical analysis skills improved so much over the course of the semester.
What led you to pursue this field and how did you prepare for it?
In my senior year economics seminar, Law and Economics, I wrote a paper about new models for health insurance in the United States. This exposed me to health economics and health policy for the first time, as well as the concept of value-based healthcare and quality measurement. While I was working on this project, I saw a posting for a job doing health policy research at Mathematica and applied. Outside of interview preparation, I did not do much to prepare for this job/work in this field explicitly. In my job, I rely on skills that I developed at Grinnell to be a strong writer, critical thinker, a good verbal and written communicator, and someone who pays attention to detail. Everything I know about health policy I have learned since starting my work in this field, but I try to keep up with current events to provide context for the federal policy work I'm exposed to.
Describe your role on a healthcare team or within the healthcare system.
My work is about half project management and half research for health policy and healthcare consulting projects. Most of my work has to do with clinical quality measurement, or how we quantify the quality of healthcare people are receiving. In my project management roles, I help manage a budget, staffing, subcontractors, and client deliverables for a team that supports the federal government in managing a clinical quality measurement program. In my research roles, I conduct research on current clinical quality benchmarks and clinical guidelines, convene expert panels of clinicians from around the country to get their input on improvements to the quality measurement program, and facilitate conversations with clients and other stakeholders about measurement changes and policy developments.
Share a piece of career advice you wish you knew as an undergraduate student.
Your first job does not have to be your dream job, and you don't have to know your passion to choose a good first job out of college. I felt very stressed as a senior about finding my "passion" and making sure I was choosing the "right" first job. Finally I thought about what was important to me in a first job, and I chose a position that would a) allow me to grow professionally over my first few years out of school, b) develop a strong professional network that was generally in my area of interest (healthcare, broadly) and c) that seemed like a rewarding, enjoyable place to work. These criteria served me well and my first job has been an amazing starting point for my career.