From Particle Physics to Public Health
Managing a Successful Career Change
Kennedy Taylor is just beginning a new career in health care. She recently accepted a research data specialist position with the California Department of Healthcare Services in Sacramento and credits UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education’s Healthcare Analytics Certificate Program with helping her land the job.
Taylor holds a Ph.D. in experimental particle physics and was previously living in Switzerland, where she worked in data analysis with the Large Hadron Collider. Public health had always been an interest of hers, and after a few years of working in particle physics, she decided to switch gears and put her data analysis skills to a new use in health care.
“I had just finished grad school and missed being a student, when I saw an ad for the certificate program,” said Taylor.
She knew that with her data science background, an education in health care would be an important asset to have on her résumé. “I wanted to show employers that I was interested in health care specifically.” She enrolled in the program in the fall of 2018 and completed it in just two quarters.
Taylor says the program gave her a solid overview of health care and the various roles within the industry. “My professional circle was limited to other physicists like me. So meeting other people who weren’t data people was helpful,” she said. “I picked up new resources from the health perspective and a good foundation for further self-study.”
She says one of her favorite aspects of the certificate was the introduction to SAS programming, a leading application in the industry. “I really enjoyed my exchanges with instructor Brian Paciotti on SAS programs. It was exciting to work with someone who is a strong programmer, but is coming from the perspective of health care.”
As Taylor transitions to this new career, she’s certain that the Healthcare Analytics Certificate Program helped her stand out to employers. “I would recommend this program to someone making a career change like me. I really enjoyed it and it was very helpful.”