Meredith Feenstra is a junior at UNH, majoring in Health Management and Policy. Coming from southern Maine, she entered UNH as a bioengineering major but has always been interested in health care. She enjoys hiking, kayaking, and running, and competitively barrel races with her horse in her free time. Meredith shared a personal factor that got her thinking about a career in health care: her father was diagnosed with MS, or multiple sclerosis. This prompted her interests in epidemiology, where she contemplates going into research.
When thinking about her major, Meredith explored the many options that the College of Health and Human Services (CHHS) offers by taking health care-related classes. “One thing that surprised me was how many different options I have with my major. I can really go into so many different fields, which I really like because I’m not 100% sure of what I want to do with it.”
By taking diverse classes, Meredith was also surprised by her newfound interest in finance. “I didn’t think I would like [finance]; I had no interest in it and then I took the class this semester and I liked it.”
Meredith has also had the opportunity to intern at the UNH Institute for Health Policy and Practice (IHPP), since her sophomore year. She even continued her internship with IHPP over the summer, gaining valuable experience, knowledge, and skills that she can use after graduation.
“Over the summer, one of the really cool things that I got to work on is a hospital merger between Elliot Hospital and Southern New Hampshire Medical Center. I do some business stuff, like working with budgets and funds. I’ve also done claims data, [involving] looking at information that other states provide and then analyzing it and publishing it to a database. I work in a lot of different areas, which I like.”
The work Meredith does for IHPP also carries over into her classes: “I walked in the first day of my finance class and they started talking about income statements and all kinds of processes that I had worked with over the summer. [The knowledge] is definitely applicable.”
The IHPP staff are a big help for Meredith in exposing her to real hands-on work and teaching her valuable skills. “They really helped push me and got me to think outside the box. They will give me a project and I need to use the knowledge I’ve gained to finish it, which isn’t something I had done before.”
In addition to the IHPP staff, Meredith praises those from her major who have helped her. “I really like the classes and how close knit the faculty are. Health management and policy is a small major and it’s not a super common one in the area, so if a student has even a little interest, they should check it out and talk to the faculty because everybody is really helpful. If you have a passion for it, they want to see you do well.”
To incoming students thinking about a major in the health field, Meredith suggests to “definitely look into the program. If you’re not 100% sure you’re into the clinical side of things, this is a really good major to be in. You can get a little bit of both (clinical and management), but you’re not really working directly with the patient.”
Kyra Shumway, ‘20