As many current or past college students know, majors are far from set in stone. It’s not uncommon for a student, faced with a multitude of diverse course offerings and career paths, to try a major or two before finding the right one.
Alex Kramer knows this predicament. It’s partly how she decided on Cornell’s Information Science program as an undergraduate student.
“I probably went through six different majors before Info Sci,” she said. There was math and economics, and she considered arts and sciences, maybe law. “What’s funny is Info Sci is a culmination of all those majors because it’s so interdisciplinary. That’s what made it interesting.”
Today, the 2014 Info Sci alumna finds herself at the forefront of technology and healthcare, serving as digital health delivery manager for Johnson & Johnson’s central healthcare applications.
“We build out apps that are centered around patients, caregivers, and doctors,” she said. “Each app revolves around a particular disease state.”
Currently, her team is developing an app to be used by families with autistic children. Other apps in development target patients suffering from clinical depression, Alzheimer’s, COPD, and rheumatoid arthritis, she said.
“This is a really exciting space, and the pipeline is growing by the day,” she said. “Demand for health apps is huge.”
Kramer will be on-hand for the two-day Cornell University Career Fair held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 9 and Thursday, Sept. 10 in Barton Hall. The fair is open to all Cornell University students. Wednesday’s fair will feature employers from the Technical and Engineering field, while Thursday’s schedule will be dedicated to employers from all industries.
Kramer will also lead an information session about Johnson & Johnson at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in 122 Gates Hall.
“Tech is my space. I love how fast-paced it is and how you have to keep up to stay relevant,” she said. “Constantly learning keeps it exciting.”
Having interned with Johnson & Johnson before her senior year at Cornell, Kramer was offered a full-time position within the company’s IT Leadership Development Program upon graduation. On top of her responsibilities as digital health delivery manager at the company’s North American IT headquarters in Raritan, NJ, she also participates in a mentoring program with a Rutgers student.
She credits Cornell’s Info Sci program for promoting team-oriented projects and providing a technical foundation.
“Most all of my work at Johnson & Johnson is with a team, so learning to work with other people in a technical environment is important, as is managing a team and setting expectations,” she said. “It’s more soft skills but still very important to succeed.
“Learning about data structures and speaking the language of [computer science] is also very helpful because I work with developers all the time. I have a team of software engineers on-site, and I speak with them regularly. It's good to have a general idea of what they are doing and a sense for how it’s relevant to the larger scope of the project.”
To current Info Science students, Kramer urged them to take advantage of the breadth of opportunities within the program.
“There are so many classes and departments with really brilliant professors,” she said. “I got to work with [Info Sci Associate Professor] Steven Jackson and just being able to try out different things within the space was crucial because you never know what will spark your interest or where that will take you.”