Mathematics alumna uses liberal arts education to help Cleveland Clinic improve patient care
Mary Sefcik ’14 chose to attend The College of Wooster because of its small size, close-knit community, and opportunities to perform research as an undergraduate. Turning her interest in research into a career, Sefcik now works as a data scientist for the Cleveland Clinic, where she uses the skills she learned at Wooster to help better the hospital system.
Although she considered a major in mathematics before coming to the College, Sefcik didn’t know where she would fit in the campus community. A class during her first year with John Ramsay, professor emeritus of mathematics, solidified her plans. “He always encouraged me to take whatever courses I was interested in and make the most of my time at the College,” she recalls. Sefcik took his advice, signing up for courses in computer science and physics along with mathematics and getting involved in various campus organizations. She tutored math, joined the math club, volunteered with a variety of groups, and even studied abroad in Scotland.
Sefcik’s curiosity and passion for math was extremely helpful to her after graduation. She received a master’s degree in applied mathematics from the University of Cincinnati in 2017 and began her career in data science. Now, in her position at the Cleveland Clinic, Sefcik works with large amounts of financial and clinical information, creating data visualizations, performance tracking dashboards, and machine learning models that can predict future trends. By providing analytical insight into the hospital’s performance, Sefcik’s analysis informs a variety of decisions and initiatives to improve patient care.
“At Cleveland Clinic, the goals for every project I am a part of are to enhance patient care and better the hospital system. I enjoy the work because it’s meaningful and interesting,” she said. “It’s exciting to be able to collaborate with doctors and use the powerful tool of data to provide insight and provide insight for the organization.”
Even beyond academics, Sefcik credits her time at Wooster with many of the skills she uses in her career, like time management and effective communication, that are invaluable to her today. Because of Wooster’s liberal arts curriculum, Sefcik learned how to effectively write and communicate information with people who may not have a background in mathematics. During her senior Independent Study project, Sefcik not only learned more about mathematics, but also learned how to conduct research and carry out a large project across several months.
“At Wooster, I was always encouraged by professors to speak up and ask questions,” she said. “It was an environment where we were constantly learning and engaged.”
Posted in Alumni on February 21, 2023.
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