WIMS Away Experience: Mackenzie Wright at INOVA Hospital and the State Department
A DWA major gets the inside scoop on two very different career paths
This past winter break, Occidental students participated in the Walk In My Shoes (Away) program, shadowing professionals at 29 sites in 6 states. Hosts provided participants with 2-3 days of career exposure to learn what they do, how they do it, and why. Students got a behind-the-scenes view of a profession and the opportunity to begin building a network within the field.
We’re showcasing a few students’ experiences with WIMS Away over the next few weeks. In this entry, Mackenzie Wright ’16 explores careers with Aaron Resnick at INOVA Hospital, and Jessie Evans at the State Department Bureau of Conflict Stabilization.
In the first week of January I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to job shadow Aaron Resnick at INOVA hospital, with a focus on emergency preparedness, and Jessie Evans at the State Department with the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization. Both experiences gave me great insight into what my future as a Diplomacy and World Affairs major and Occidental College graduate can be. Aaron and Jessie, although at different parts of their lives and careers, shared similar qualities and interests in their career that I felt were key factors in their decision-making and career development that led them to where they are today. Many of these qualities, character traits and skills that I observed are things I am confident I will have and/or can work to build that will enhance my ability to find and work in these career paths.
Aaron’s job as emergency preparedness coordinator was not a job that I felt in the beginning had much relevance to my interest in diplomacy, world affairs and international relations. Learning and seeing firsthand all the responsibilities that come with and are necessary facets of preparedness showed me its relevance to international preparedness for events caused by weather, violence and other disasters that call for international intervention and attention. Aaron’s ability to be flexible, organized and approachable in the hospital gives him the capability to be on top of the goings-on within the hospital and community. To be able to fulfill his responsibilities as emergency preparedness coordinator at the largest hospital in the region, Aaron must have the ability to function under pressure and come up with responses to intense and immediate demands. Aaron’s easygoing professionalism and enthusiastic investment in each department within the hospital was a main skill I felt Aaron had that I feel I also possess and will work to enhance throughout the development of my career. Aaron’s work taught me that it is okay to not know everything - that being the manager, coordinator or boss does not mean one must have the knowhow and answer to everything immediately and that some things take time, organization and work before the best answer is ready.
Shadowing Jessie’s work with the State Department in the Bureau of Conflict Stabilization was really exciting and interesting for me because it was extremely relevant to my current interests in Diplomacy and World Affairs and the work that I see myself doing in the future. Jessie’s professionalism, enthusiasm and drive are necessary factors in her work that allow her to keep up with the frenzy and constant shuffle that comes with working at the State Department. Jessie was able to introduce me to members in her bureau and department who shared with her an intense interest in and devotion to the wellbeing of the international community through their work in the State Department. Something I learned while job-shadowing Jessie, similar to what I learned with Aaron, is that it is very okay to not know the answer to everything and when this happens, it is pertinent to ask members of your team for their insight and any knowledge they might have that you do not. In careers such as Jessie’s, cooperation, communication and enthusiasm for your work are necessary factors for success and it is important to keep in mind that you will never be the expert on any one given country, issue or culture; someone can always tell you something you don’t know. Interesting aspects of Jessie’s job that enlivened me was the fact that the job is always changing; I would never be stuck in an office with the same duties and responsibilities day in and out, which is an important factor for me. Another aspect of the job that was exciting to me was the necessity to stay current and involved in order to carry out the duties necessary. I think it is important to be in a job that stimulates your interests and passions.
The opportunity to job shadow Aaron Resnick and Jessie Evans was extremely beneficial to me and has made me really excited to begin my career in whichever path I want to take. The recommendations and advice that I received from Aaron, Jessie and the people I met through them at their work will help me put my career ambitions into action both during my time at Occidental College and after.
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