Sushrutha Kanaparthi’s decision to leave India for the US was clear, due to the relief it came with. Her academic journey was previously filled with uncertainty and doubt. She was always interested in healthcare and technology, but as time went on, she began to feel lost and overwhelmed. The pressure of choosing the right career path, getting great grades, and securing a job after graduation weighed heavily on her.
All of her worries dissipated when she discovered the Master of Science (MS) in Health Informatics at Marshall University and the guidance of the program’s esteemed faculty. Finally, Kanaparthi felt she had found a community that understood her passions and aspirations. She was relieved to know that she was on the right track and that her dreams of combining healthcare and technology were not just fanciful ideals. “The curriculum was superior to those by other competing universities in the country,” she says.
The only one of its kind in West Virginia, the program Kanaparthi chose was designed to provide an interdisciplinary study of the design, development, adoption, and application of IT-based innovations in healthcare services, delivery, management, and planning.
One of the most important skills that Kanaparthi developed through the program was teamwork. Throughout, it emphasized the importance of collaboration and working effectively with others to achieve common goals. Hence Kanaparthi has learned to communicate effectively with her peers, leverage the strengths of different personalities, and navigate conflicts and disagreements to ensure that everyone is working together towards a shared objective.
Another key competency she’s gained is time management. The course started out rigorous and demanding, requiring her and her peers to balance coursework, assignments, projects, and other responsibilities. In this, Kanaparthi learned how to prioritize tasks, manage her time, and maintain a disciplined approach to her work.
Finally, the program’s emphasis on global thinking helped her understand the interconnected nature of the healthcare industry and the importance of considering the perspectives and needs of stakeholders from different regions and cultures. This has been particularly crucial when working on projects with international teams and seeking to develop solutions tailored to the needs of diverse populations. After all, the Marshall experience aims to transform students into “citizens of the world.”
The Office of Intercultural Affairs (OIA) guarantees this. Established in 2014, its main mission is to foster a dynamic and immersive learning environment that equips students with the tools and experiences required to thrive in a global society and contribute meaningfully to the well-being of others.
“We do so by creating student engagement initiatives, progressive and experiential educational programs, and highly individualized advising,” explains Distinguished Visiting Scholar Maurice R. Cooley. “We will create a diverse university of respect, learning, inclusion, and engagement.”
When students feel respected and included, they are more likely to be confident and engaged in their learning experience. Hence why Kanaparthi often took part in class discussions, relished challenging assignments, and pursued extracurriculars that align with her interests and goals.
“I received recognition through the high scholastic achievement award and has recently been selected to be a Beta Gamma Sigma member,” she says. “I am also a graduate assistant and part of the International Honor Society for the Collegiate School of Business.”
It’s clear that university days are nothing short of enriching for Kanaparthi. However, her weekends are reserved for the best of West Virginia. This bit of the week gives her a chance to explore the beautiful outdoors and experience the unique cultures and traditions of the region with her closest friends by her side. Of course, she unwinds at home as well, prepping nostalgic meals, working out, and getting ahead of her assignments.
“I know the city well and I like it a lot,” she enthuses. “The surrounding nature is amazing, and the cost of living is cheaper as compared to other places. I can imagine living here for at least a few more years.”
Chances are that won’t be a problem. Marshall University’s Health Informatics program is a STEM-designated degree by the US Department of Homeland Security. This means international students like Kanaparthi who wish to extend their Optional Practical Training (OPT) status can apply for work eligibility in the US for up to 36 months.
To learn more about what Marshall University can do for your aspirations, click here.