CNS Career Services hosts health care career panel

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Joe Mason, Merck & Co. data analytics intern, speaks alongside other panelists about healthcare jobs that don't require graduate school at Avaya Auditorium on Feb. 25, 2020. The panelists gave advice to students on how to find interests other than being doctors and to take care of themselves to avoid burn out. 

Photo Credit: Rebecca Trevathan | Daily Texan Staff

The College of Natural Sciences Career Services hosted a panel Tuesday of current UT students and alumni on health care career opportunities that only require a bachelor’s degree.

The event, “How to Work in Healthcare Without Being a Doctor,” drew around 150 attendees, and speakers from a variety of organizations came to speak on the panel.

The panelists discussed how to transition from a pre-health track to a career immediately out of college. Joe Mason, a data analytics intern at pharmaceutical company Merck, said he decided during college that he no longer wanted to pursue medicine. 

Computational biology senior Mason said it is very important for students who want to work in biotechnology and related fields to have a portfolio of projects to show their competency to companies.

“The biggest fear a company has is that they bring someone in, train them up for a year, and then that was (the trainee’s) gap year and now they’re going to medical school,” Mason said. “That was a waste because your first year working you don’t produce a lot of value for the company.”

Emily Zhang, health strategies specialist for the American Heart Association, said it’s very important to take care of your health during college. 

“I think I definitely spread myself out too thin during college, which is why I felt so burnt out when I graduated,” Zhang said. “At the end of the day, you have to take care of yourself in order to take care of your future.” 

Zhang said getting involved on campus and taking additional classes can also help students develop other interests.

“A certificate or a minor can be a really great way to develop another smaller interest that you may have and see where that can lead you,” Zhang said. 

Maggie Rigney, senior career coach and the event organizer, said CNS Career Services held the event to expose students to different career paths. 

“A lot of students might have grown up hearing about doctors, lawyers, teachers, firefighters and police officers,” Rigney said. “But there are new jobs that are being created every day.”

Biology sophomore Imtiaz Rashid said the resources and advice provided at the panel were helpful.

“I don’t have to just directly go into some pre-med or pre-health profession,” Rashid said. “(I’m) trying to just explore and do my research and keep my options open.”