Melanie Ward is a rising senior at the University of Michigan, where she majors in Sociology and is a Michigan Tradition and James B. Angell Scholar. Melanie’s career goal is to attain a Ph.D. in Health Policy and eventually conduct research at a health policy think tank, in order to facilitate communication between research and policy makers. Melanie applied to Project L/EARN because she was interested in the opportunity to conduct a full research project in preparation for graduate school work.
Melanie explained that the most important thing she learned was the role of statistics in research. She explained that, “The statistics instruction was excellent. I value this most, because of how well it was taught and because of how essential it is to understand these concepts to conduct research.” She enjoyed working with her faculty mentor, Dr. Susan Brownlee, because she felt that Dr. Brownlee’s knowledge of survey methodology and policy issues in New Jersey allowed her to gain a “wealth of knowledge” on applied research in health policy.
Melanie expressed that the hardest part of the program was learning to conduct quality work within short deadlines. However, she felt that developing a sense of camaraderie with the other interns, as they all took on substantial workloads, was her favorite part of the program. She would like future interns to “Come to Project L/EARN with a high degree of motivation and determination. It will be tested. But the workload is certainly manageable, although heavier than the typical workload of a college student.”