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Ella Schotz ('23) chats with alum Laura Minnichelli ('09)

My name is Ella Schotz, and I am a junior at William & Mary, where I am majoring in Public Policy and minoring in Hispanic Studies.  I was pleased to interview William & Mary alum Laura Minnichelli (Public Policy/Spanish, ’09), who not only shared my same major but she studied abroad in Spain, as I am doing now, as a part of her William & Mary experience.  During our talk, Ms. Minnichelli told me about her time at William & Mary, her experience of studying abroad in Spain, her post-graduation plans, and what she is doing now.

Laura MinnichelliMs. Minnichelli currently works at Logistics Management Institute (LMI) doing consulting work on a team for the Medicare Shared Savings Program. A Medicare-related initiative, the program is committed to achieving better health for individuals, better population health, and lowering growth in expenditures. Ms. Minnichelli highlighted some of the advantages of consulting work, including opportunities for teamwork, personal development, and being able to work on multiple different projects simultaneously. She also shared that in her own professional experience, consulting has allowed her to work on more new projects and gain additional leadership experience compared to her previous positions in government, highlighting important differences between organizations that focus on similar issues. 

Hearing about Ms. Minnichelli’s career path gave insight into what working in policy may look like, both in and out of the health policy field. Prior to her health policy consulting work, she explored numerous jobs and worked in different policy areas. After graduating from William & Mary, for example, she volunteered with AmeriCorps VISTA for a year doing tax-related work. Later, she worked at another nonprofit and then a government agency (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs) before attending graduate school and entering the health policy field. Her experience and well-rounded background were incredibly interesting to me as someone who is not certain about the type of role I want to pursue after college. I loved our conversation and hearing from an alum who was open to exploration and finding the right fit after graduation.

Ms. Minnichelli also gave especially helpful advice for students pursuing public policy-related careers. While at William & Mary, she recommended students attend as many events as possible to learn about different experiences, career paths, and opportunities. She also suggested building relationships with professors in order to learn both in and out of the classroom. Another piece of advice that I will be considering is to work, whether through an internship or job after college, before going to graduate school. She explained that her peers who had “real-world” experience prior to entering graduate school had insightful perspectives and succeeded more than those who hadn’t, and she was glad she had not gone straight to school. Once again, as someone still exploring career options, I was glad to have reassurance that it would be beneficial to investigate different paths before committing to graduate school.

I am so grateful to connect with an alum who had such a similar path as me at William & Mary, and to hear about her successes today. I also appreciated her honesty and advice about working both in and out of the health policy field.