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Teresa Phan

Teresa is a first year Master’s student studying Information Science at the School of Information and Library Science. She is also a Graduate Research Assistant for the Initiative for Minority Excellence.

What made you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

I’ve always known that I wanted to help others in the context of health, but after working in medical record systems in undergrad and student records after graduating, found out I’m pretty good at computers. My undergraduate degree was in public policy, but I would like to work in jobs that involve creating better health record systems, so I applied to graduate school to help me develop the understanding and skills necessary to work in the field of healthcare technology.

 What’s the thing you love most about Chapel Hill?

I love that the area is very social justice friendly.  Coming from a rural area of North Carolina and a patriarchal culture, I’ve only recently come to “discover” my own identity as an Asian-American, and the community that I’ve met with has been supportive of my learning.  I’ve used the term “baby woke” with people that I’ve met, explaining my newness to understanding what it means to be more socially, culturally, and politically aware.

If you had any advice for someone thinking about pursuing a graduate degree, what would it be?

Make sure that what you plan on studying is something you’re passionate about!  As cliché as it sounds, it’s makes so much sense to me now.  I don’t feel the same sense of dread going to class as I did in undergrad because I’m actually interested in the readings, and doing more homework examples than required because I truly want to learn more.  I always feel like I’m nerding out to my boss and friends, telling them about the cool programming assignment I just completed, but it definitely reaffirms that I’ve found my calling.

What is your dream career after you’ve completed your studies?

Although I’m learning so many cool things right now that help open my eyes to new career options, my current job interest is to be a systems analyst for a medical records company.  Medical record systems that I’ve worked in as an administrator as well as used as a patient myself, are intimidating and not intuitively built for easy navigation.  I feel that everyone should be able to 1) access their medical records and 2) be able to understand them, regardless of the medical jargon.

Like Steve Jobs said, “…people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do,” right?

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