Internship Lineup: Jaanon Anbar

Tell me about your internship! What are your responsibilities? What projects are you working on over the summer?

I work on the enterprise imaging team at M Health Fairview. I work with a group of people with both technical and clinical backgrounds. This team is responsible for supporting around 65 different clinical applications that are used by the radiology departments across Fairview. In practice, that can encompass application implementation configurations for user needs, storage server, database management, and making sure all of those are working properly. We work one-on-one with the clients or the vendors to certify clinical care throughout all of the different Fairview hospitals, clinics, and locations.

I've been working on a lot of really cool projects. It's been really cool to see how the technical and computer science world works within healthcare. I've done a lot of hands-on work with data integrity and working with those clinical applications. I've also been assisting in the operational structure of the team. There have been changes to the structure of the team, so I've been working with doing some knowledge-based handoffs. Currently, I'm working on a really cool project with the senior engineer on the team to assess analytics to maintain data integrity and work on a pre-analysis of a workflow change for one of the applications.

What is the most important thing you have learned thus far?

The most important thing I've learned is that collaboration is very important. Not only asking for help, but also realizing when you're not the best person to do something, or when additional clarification or help could maybe make the process easier for everybody involved. I know sometimes it can be awkward to ask for help when someone expects you to be able to do something. I found that more often than not, when I ask for help, people are more than willing to lend a hand. It's better to ask for help and get things done the right way than to struggle and end up making mistakes.

How did your school work prepare you for this role?

The University of Minnesota’s computer science curriculum gives you a lot of opportunities to take classes that are very rigorous and challenging, but also really push you in a lot of different ways. As I’ve mentioned, they put you in positions where you need to ask for help. They don't spoon feed you all of the information that you need to get something done. I've really learned to go out on my own and figure out the information that you might be missing or the things that you may need to help you. Those strategies have really helped throughout my internship. I've really been able to pick up where my mentors’ directions have stopped.

How did you become interested in computer science and your specific areas of interest?

I didn't really know what I wanted to do going into college. There's so many opportunities out there and there's so many things that are interesting. I felt like computer science would open a lot of doors for me to explore a lot of different opportunities and allow me to work in almost any field. That’s what intrigued me about the field. The endless opportunities that computer science provides is what pulled me in.

Throughout my time in college, I have also been pursuing a minor in psychology. I'm a people person and I love being able to work with people. That was something that I thought I was going to lose going into a very technical field. I was very pleasantly surprised to see that there's a lot of different avenues that you can take within computer science that are collaboration based. It's a very challenging field, so it's definitely keeping me on my toes and keeping every day very interesting.

It's not a very common thing to have a psychology minor with a technical degree, but something that a lot of interviewers thought to be really beneficial in the tech field. It can be hard to get lost in the super technical aspect of computer science and lose the people skills. I felt learning how people work, how people think, how to interact with people, and how to be part of a team, have  allowed me to stand out.

What are your future career goals? How has this position impacted your goals?

A career goal for myself is to always be in an environment where I can continue to learn and grow. I don’t want to allow myself to get stuck in one thing, get comfortable being good at one thing and just sticking to that all the time. What I've loved about working at Fairview is that healthcare is an ever-changing field. There's always people who need medical help, there's always a strive to become more efficient in taking care of people and relaying information. There's so many different aspects to the healthcare field, whether it be the clinical applications that I work with to make people's lives a little bit more efficient, or cybersecurity and making sure that patient health information is always protected. It's been really cool to get to learn and experience how all of those little things come together. Being able to work somewhere where there's collaboration among all of those different aspects is something that I would really like to continue.

What advice would you give to someone pursuing a similar internship in the future?

I would say to keep an open mind; I know that’s kind of a cliché. It's really easy to get lost in the idea that computer science is only coding, because a lot of our classes are very programming and coding based. But what I found throughout my work is that there's so much more out there. Keeping an open mind and saying yes to as many opportunities as you can to learn will really help you. Another thing is you're not going to get any of those opportunities that I'm talking about if you wait for them to come to you. Prior to the past couple years, maybe even the past couple of months, I was a very shy person. I never would go out of my way to reach out to people or ask for help. I wasn't getting those opportunities that everybody else was getting. I decided it was time to make a change. Everyone loves to talk about their experiences, their successes, and what they would do differently. It is very important to try and go out of your way to reach out to people, find those opportunities for yourself.