Week 3: What am I doing here?

At ASU, I am studying Molecular Biology and Finance. Molecular Biology is a field concerned with the central dogma of genetic expression from DNA to RNA to protein that drives life. Finance is a subfield of economics that deals with the study of assets and liabilities over time an how they behave under the conditions of uncertainty and risk. Although these fields are not really related, they both have very practical uses. Take for example, the company Google started by Sergery Brin and Larry Page. In the beginnings of the company, Larry actually changed Google’s philosophy in a radical way that changed the landscape of the tech space in Silicon Valley, he fired all the business managers and replaced them with managers with a strong engineering background. This revolutionized the way that companies do business, and has been a big reason why companies such as Google have been able to be so prosperous. This same movement is gradually happening within every field, especially now with the medical field. It would be foolish to assume that someone with a non-science background can predict the outcome of a research project or understand how much value next generation proton beam therapy can provide for an organization. After all, how can a person who has never been inside a clinical setting make such big decisions that influence healthcare? In my current role on the budget formulation team, both of my majors have helped me out in terms of being very proficient with Microsoft Excel and being able to understand the healthcare products that HHS carries out, making it easier to communicate programs to congressional staff to negotiate appropriations. I would say the most important skills for my role would be to be really good at skimming extremely large documents for key, specific information and being able to synthesize numbers and explain them in a clean and concise way.

The most important skill to have while being on an internship is to be like a sponge. At first, I was overwhelmed with the massive amounts of legal language that is plentiful in the budget world and the plethora of processes and terminology that one must be familiar with to be in this role. Although it was intimidating at first, I have really gotten used to most of the technical financial terms used in the budget world and have been able to gradually gain more and more exposure and responsibility in helping assist the team creating the budget for the 2019 fiscal year.

Something I have learned this week is to take no person for granted. I was able to meet some other federal government interns today at HHS and luckily learned all their names and what they were studying. Although they were all graduate level students, I still felt like I fit in well and it was great to here each intern’s unique experiences that led them to where they are now at HHS. It is important to make these connections with people your age because you never know when you might need them when your supervisor might not be available or you need help from a different department within the organization. In my role on the budget formulation team, it is actually very crucial to maintain good relationships with management in different areas of HHS to have a good understanding of future costs to create good budget allocations for the next fiscal year to avoid any potential recisions or sequestrations. With all that being said, I look forward to continuing the learning process and making value for HHS!

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