“I had taken Professor Addona’s Survival Analysis course while at Macalester. Mayo was very impressed that I had that experience as an undergraduate.” –Alese Halvorson ’15

Two days before graduation, Alese Halvorson ’15 landed a job at the Mayo Clinic. That good news definitely justified tossing her mortarboard.

Halvorson now works at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., as a statistical programmer analyst in the Cancer Center. With a major in applied math, a minor in biology, and a concentration in community and global health, she was well prepared to help manage and analyze data from important clinical trials.

“Mayo has an academic feel similar to Macalester,” says Halvorson. Just 80 miles southeast of St. Paul, the Mayo Clinic has many research and internship opportunities open to undergraduates. “After a month-long orientation, I was assigned a mentor and encouraged to collaborate with peers,” she says.

Halvorson was aided in landing the Mayo job by her previous research experience at the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), obtained with the help of Macalester’s Science and Research Office. While working in the Injury and Violence Prevention Unit at MDH, she combined her interests in math and health care to determine how suicide prevention measures should be targeted throughout the state. “It was great to see how the methods I learned in my classes, such as epidemiology, applied in the real world,” she says. She continued to analyze that data for her senior capstone project.

“My experience in analyzing data, often working independently, gave me a leg up when applying at Mayo,” she says, adding that another advantage was having taken Professor Vittorio Addona’s Survival Analysis statistics course. “Mayo was very impressed that I had that experience as an undergraduate.”

At Mayo Clinic, Halvorson is involved in a new international breast cancer clinical trial, as well as in ongoing myeloma and leukemia trials. She deals with data concerning patient eligibility and outcomes.

On a recent return visit to Macalester, Halvorson told a student audience that a Macalester degree was a big advantage in job hunting. She also encouraged them to talk about their class projects and internship experiences during job interviews.

March 16 2016

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