Ellie Wood: Health Strategy Intern
“Where are you interning this summer?”
“I’m working at Stratasan, a healthcare data and software company!”
After a long pause and puzzled look… “Do you know anything about computer science?”
At the beginning of the summer, my answer to that question was a firm “no,” followed by a nervous laugh. As an upcoming senior studying Public Policy at the University of Virginia, I had minimal experience in the tech world. Little did I know at the time, though, Stratasan does so much more than just “computer science.” Like a well-oiled machine, everyone brings diverse skillsets and experiences to the table at Stratasan, and the success of the company relies on the unique value delivered by each individual working toward a common goal. Due to the smaller size of the company, individuals often take on multiple roles, adjusting to changing circumstances in a dynamic environment. As an intern at Stratasan through the Ohana Health Fellows Program this summer, I’ve had the opportunity to learn from a variety of these individuals while gaining an appreciation for the larger mission of the company.
Throughout most of my time this summer, I’ve shared an office with Lee Ann Lambdin, the SVP of Healthcare Strategy. Every well-oiled machine needs an alarm system—someone who is vitally important in crisis situations, alert to potential problems, and garners attention and respect from clients and coworkers alike. After spending the past few months interning with Lee Ann, I can confidently call her Stratasan’s alarm. Although working in healthcare necessitates lengthy processes and checklists for obvious reasons, the industry is rapidly changing and requires innovation and quick-thinking. Lee Ann and the rest of Stratasan’s team demonstrate this phenomenon on a daily basis. In meetings with Lee Ann, I’ve watched her anticipate potential issues in strategic plans and Community Health Needs Assessments by recognizing trends in data and attentively checking the fine print. Healthcare is at a pivotal, transformative point in the United States, exemplified through rapidly growing FSEDs, telemedicine, and more. After this summer, I now truly understand the importance of actively foreseeing these changes and mitigating future threats both externally and internally. On a lighter note, much to the dismay of the entire bottom floor, I can also say that I have contributed my fair share to the alarm system this summer. Between our John Denver jam sessions and lack of inside voices, I don’t think anybody had any trouble hearing this Ellie-Lee Ann alarm.
More importantly though, a machine cannot function successfully if all the parts are disconnected. I have watched this truth come to life this summer. Every few weeks, Stratasan facilitates “lunch and learns” where everyone gathers together to learn about the roles of various departments in the company. Although usually incentivized with treats, everyone repeatedly shows up engaged and genuinely interested in their coworkers’ roles and experiences. Outside of the office, we’ve taken lunch trips to the Farmer’s Market, hosted potlucks (with some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had), and taken adventures to local minor-league baseball games. Because of these interactions, everyone doesn’t just show up to work and trudge through the day begrudgingly, but instead the office is frequently filled by laughter, mingling, and genuine friendship. Rather than create distractions, I firmly believe this work environment breeds ingenuity and productivity. Furthermore, it has created a wonderful and inviting experience for an intern like myself, who once considered the prospect of an office slightly more than daunting.
As my summer at Stratasan comes to an end, I wouldn’t exactly call myself the next Bill Gates now, but I can confidently say that I have learned so much more than I could’ve ever imagined. In addition to gaining invaluable experience and knowledge in the healthcare and tech realm, I am also leaving with greater confidence and excitement in the future of healthcare after experiencing the well-engineered machine of Stratasan this summer.
Abbey Miles: Software Development Intern
I am the girl who changed schools twice. I am the girl who changed her major three times. I am the girl who has always had lots of ideas about what she wanted to do, what she wanted "to be" but then changed her mind..... several times. After a few mistakes, THAT girl finally got it right!
I am an upcoming senior at Belmont University where I am studying Computer Science with an emphasis in Web Development. There is (finally!) no doubt in my mind that this is the field for me. That decision was confirmed on numerous occasions after spending the summer interning with Stratasan.
I vividly remember my interview for the summer intern position. I was so nervous because I knew I had little to offer this rapidly growing company. I waited eagerly and patiently (well, kind of patiently!) for the phone call that I thought would never come. I felt so fortunate when the call DID come and I was offered the position as development intern.
As I reflect on the past thirteen weeks, I can honestly say the experience I gained has far exceeded my expectations. I came to Stratasan with only classroom experience but I leave with invaluable insight and skills that cannot be taught in school.
- I learned what it means to work as a team toward a common goal.
- I learned that questions are meant to be asked and that there is no such thing as a dumb question. Well, maybe there are dumb questions but if I asked them, nobody said they were dumb!
- I learned that people are gracious and kind—people are FOR each other, respect each others' ideas, and work together to turn those ideas into something that can revolutionize the healthcare industry as well as the lives of others.
The environment at Stratasan was exciting! When the developers would meet to share their ideas, I was in awe as one idea piggybacked off of another.
As I complete my final week at Stratasan, my heart is full of gratitude. I am grateful to have worked with the best in the industry and to have acquired new skill sets that will prepare me for my future career. I am especially grateful for the treasured friendships I made along the way.
I am the girl who will be forever thankful for the opportunity to be part of such a smart, funny, committed, loyal group of people who make up team Stratasan.
Part 1 of this article by Ellie Wood, Health Strategy Intern for Stratasan
Part 2 of this article by Abbey Miles, Development Intern for Stratasan
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