William & Mary

Joanna Conder '07: Healthcare and Public Policy

After obtaining a degree in sociology from Poland’s Warsaw University, international student Joanna Conder knew she wanted to studyConder in America. A friend of hers was living in Virginia, which led Joanna to seek out nearby universities with public policy programs. Her research led to William & Mary. “The program here relates to courses I had taken: statistics, economics, and quantitative topics.”

From her international perspective, Joanna emphasized that researching your graduate program options and thinking big can lead to great things. “Examine the curriculum carefully,” she suggested. “A lot of students were surprised at how quantitative this program is, but I had read about it ahead of time. It fit my interests and needs.”

In her work Joanna concentrated on the policy end of the healthcare industry, though she also enjoyed the freedom afforded by William & Mary’s graduate network. “We can take classes in law and business, and in the school of education. I don’t know how many other programs have those kinds of options.”

Joanna was also impressed with the personal attention she received in her studies. “The classes were all very good – usually twenty to twenty-five people. I like the community, and with public policy we’re sort of a family. There are a lot of benefits.” Her second year, she says, was particularly enjoyable because of the electives she was able to take in her concentration.

When she completes her degree, Joanna plans to head to Washington, D.C., to pursue a career in healthcare research and consulting. “I can’t apply for a government job, because I’m not a U.S. citizen.” But her degree has created a lot of opportunities for her, and she’s already extended her visa for another year. Currently she’s looking into working at a private firm or a nonprofit organization that works with the government.

“The healthcare system is so complex,” she explained. “I want to work in a place where I can help to run the process, to help people.”