CLM Students Pair Up with Alumni for Career Education

By Ryan Clark
CHS Communications Director

In the class “Careers in Clinical Leadership and Management,” or CLM 120, students can expect to learn about the wide variety of professional positions they could obtain in the field.

But just how they learn is up to the professor, and when Sarah Kercsmar, PhD, has her way, you can bet the lesson will be interesting.

Kercsmar, who serves as program director, director of Undergraduate Studies, and assistant professor for Clinical Leadership and Management, revels in exploring different methods to teach her classes. In CLM 120, she thought it could be beneficial to pair current students with alumni mentors.

“Career paths in Clinical Leadership and Management are so wide and varied that I hoped students would expand their knowledge of opportunities by connecting with our alums through this project,’ she said. “I also hoped they would begin to build their professional networks by connecting with these folks on LinkedIn and having them as a resource now and in the future.”

But she also hoped the learning could go both ways.  

“From the alumni point of view, I hoped the alums would feel even more connected to the program and get updated on what is going on at UK now and talk to some of our awesome current students and future leaders,” she said.

Reviews from the class show it went very well.

Rachel Grigg, class of 2025, actually made a presentation on her time spent with her mentor, Jessica Patel, MSHA, MBA, a Strategic Project Manager with the Baptist Health Medical Group. 

“I really enjoyed this experience as a student,” Grigg said. “It was very helpful to speak with a professional and ask them what advice they would give an undergrad. I filed away some very important points for future thought as I progress through UK’s CLM program and begin to think about grad school.”

In her presentation, she highlighted a few key points.

“I began with a short job description of what exactly her responsibilities at Baptist Health are,” Grigg said. “This includes tasks like the coordination of logistics, miscellaneous jobs assigned to her, directing the hiring of new team members, and planning physical renovations at different branch locations.”

She then included more brief information about her specific role before transitioning to more impactful key takeaways. Patel had some very good advice for students who will soon be searching for employment, like:

  • Communication is everything.
  • Be curious and ask questions.
  • Respect your boss and the allowances they give you.
  • Time management/multitasking skills are of the utmost importance.
  • Be open-minded.
  • Practice good communication skills.
  • NETWORK as much as possible to establish positive connections.

Grigg said the advice was welcome — and it could be applied to any career.

And Patel said it was a pleasure to take part.

“In typical COVID-world fashion, we met via Zoom to get to know each other,” Patel said. “Rachel had some questions lined up for the two of us, and I also asked her to tell me about herself, her goals, etc. We had a great, open, and honest conversation!”