UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — When Randi Semera applied to an internship with MedSims, a WebMD company focused on health education and training, she never anticipated the impact working in the medical field would have on her.

Semera — who is studying information sciences and technology with a focus in design and development online through Penn State World Campus — applied for the data analyst intern position after developing a strong interest in the field through her IST special topics course, which provided information on the major concepts in data analytics and allowed Semera to work on data sets.

In the position, Semera and her team provide data analysis and reporting for patient simulation software. She also performs general report quality assurance, creates visualization mock-ups, and analyzes user feedback to improve user experience. In addition, throughout the summer she will update custom SQL programming queries, do market research, and perform other requests as needed.

Semera loves learning about how health care businesses run and said the internship, along with her desire to help others through health care, has solidified her future goals.

“Seeing how important the [company’s] products impact health education, specifically through the patient simulations we provide, increases my desire to work for an organization in health care,” Semera said.

“Knowing the work we are performing is helping physicians, health care providers, and patients is what inspires me to pursue a data analytics career in the medical field or health care industry,” she added.

Semera said the interdisciplinary nature of the College of IST courses that she took online, combined with her internship experience, have given her a “wealth of knowledge” and prepared her for a future career in the industry.

“Having a broad range of topics [at IST] provided the opportunity for me to understand more of the tools and business processes used at MedSims,” she said. “What I appreciate most about the programs at the College of IST is how much they cover. I have more to learn, but I came into the internship with the ability to grasp operational concepts and how technology is being used to accomplish business initiatives.”

Because of this, Semera advised fellow students to always have confidence in themselves and in their Penn State education.

“Be confident in the knowledge you have acquired so far,” Semera said. “My biggest fear was that I might not be the most qualified candidate. But Penn State gives us an outstanding education with resources that provide us the breadth of knowledge and experience to excel in what we do.”

“Getting an internship is more than just obtaining credit hours for graduation," she added. "You are also using your internship experience to further develop your skill set, career goals, and interests. Working for a company that you respect and admire is something you should always look for.”