Caroline Lavoie

Caroline Lavoie

Tell us about your background.
I graduated from Miami University in 2009 with degrees in Public Administration and History with the intent of working in the non-profit sector.  After graduation, I managed a kitchen for a men’s homeless shelter and soup kitchen, managed a community café, co-lead community development trips to Chiapas, Mexico, and worked at a healthcare center that serves the uninsured. 

I wore many hats during my five years in the healthcare industry including volunteer coordinator, practice manager, and project manager for the organization’s transition from paper charts to electronic health records. It was during this period that I developed my passion for health care and data.

 I left this job to begin my Master’s Program at UNH, but the skills I developed at the healthcare center define who I am today.  It is there that I learned how to effectively work with a team to address the needs of both the organization and the diverse population we served.  I gained first-hand knowledge of both the strengths and failings of our health care industry, and believe the utilization of analytics can bring substantial, lasting, and positive change. 

What are your professional goals?
I aim to stay in healthcare and am excited to bring the skills and knowledge developed in this program back to the industry. I also want to consult with smaller non-profits and businesses that may not be able to afford a full-time analytic staff. I hope to empower organizations to better serve their populations, make better decisions, improve workflows, efficiency, and ROI.

Tell us about an analytics project you have worked on.
This summer, my team and I analyzed data sets related to insurance plans offered through the Affordable Care Act. This provided a serious challenge as we worked with a large data set on a highly-complex topic and industry. We learned a great deal about programming, data exploration and management, and analysis. The project constantly pushed us to look deeper and ask more questions as the insight we sought from the data was not at surface level. It was a great learning experience.

What have you found valuable about the M.S. program thus far?
This program develops our skills in statistics, programming, and analysis daily, and the variety of professors, speakers, and topics help us approach our studies from different angles. I thrive in the collaborative environment and learn so much from my classmates who bring an incredibly diverse set of skills and backgrounds to the table. Learning from them has been both fun and rewarding. I also currently TA for my Health Analytics cluster course.

Have you attended any conferences?
I attended the Strata Data conference in NYC in September. It was eye-opening to hear and see all the opportunities in Big Data. My favorite session was titled “Predicting Tantrums with Wearable Data and Real-time Analytics,” which described how collecting and analyzing data from wearable devices was helping to predict, understand, and diffuse situations where children have tantrums. It is in the early stages but shows how analytics is directly improving the lives of the parents, teachers, and children involved.

Do you have any extracurricular activities you would like to tell us about?
When I’m not doing homework, you can usually find me reading. I absolutely love to read, both fiction and non-fiction. My New Year’s resolution this year was to read 10 classics I’ve never read before. I also enjoy hiking. I am new to New Hampshire and love living so close to the mountains! My goal is to be part of the 4000 Footer Club one day.

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