Alumni Story: Shaping the Next Phase of Her Career

Melissa Hoeman (’18) understands that in order to succeed in making an impact, you need the right tools. As an Internal Communications Senior Coordinator at Nebraska Medicine who recently earned a Master of Science in Health Care Administration degree, she recognizes that education is an invaluable tool when it comes to affecting change. Although her education journey is varied, it led her to where she is now—at an organization that allows her to achieve her goal of helping others. Her decision to pursue an advanced degree opened up numerous possibilities to help her impact her organization.

When learning about Hoeman’s background, her current career path may seem a bit unusual. She grew up in Springfield, Mo. and earned a Bachelor of Science in Meteorology degree from Valparaiso University. For nearly eight years after completing her undergraduate degree, Hoeman worked at television stations in Texas, South Carolina and Nebraska before taking a position at a public relations firm in Omaha, Neb.

Growing up with a mother who was a nurse and a father who was a physician, however, meant that health care was never far from her mind. In 2014, Hoeman began working in the Internal Communications Department at Nebraska Medicine. Her background in public relations, as well as the critical thinking and problem-solving skills that she developed throughout her career, went a long way in helping her to adjust to her new position. While there, she discovered a passion inspired by the work that the organization and its employees perform. “I feel privileged to have a job with this organization because of the impact it makes on the community as well as individual patients and their families,” she said.

Working with the company led to more than just a rewarding job; it inspired Hoeman to explore more opportunities within the health care field. Her goals and aspirations were central in her decision to pursue an advanced degree. “I wanted to prepare myself for future growth in my career at Nebraska Medicine,” she said. “I knew that a health care business program curriculum would help me reach my goals and perform better in my current position.”

The Clarkson College Health Care Business program was a natural fit for Hoeman because of the institution’s partnership with Nebraska Medicine. Employees are eligible to receive tuition reimbursement while they pursue an undergraduate or graduate degree from the College. The partnership allows professionals such as Hoeman the opportunity to explore a variety of career options and enter into leadership positions by earning an advanced degree.

Hoeman decided to pursue a Master’s degree in Health Care Administration, which is available 100 percent online. Because she worked full-time while earning her degree and welcomed a baby boy in April 2018, right as she began her final semester and started working on her thesis project , the program’s flexibility was especially important. “The online coursework made it possible to work full-time, volunteer outside of work and focus on my family,” she said.

The program’s online curriculum focuses on developing skills to define business problems, assess information, consider alternatives and implement solutions. At the conclusion of the program, students complete a Capstone project that reflects the knowledge, critical thinking skills and strategies learned throughout the curriculum. Hoeman wrapped up her academic studies by completing Financial Feasibility of Implementation for Health Care Organizations, a research project that will benefit her as she pursues new opportunities at Nebraska Medicine.

“I have a better understanding of health care operations after completing the coursework for my master’s degree,” she said. “I now have background knowledge of finance, leadership, law, strategic planning and economics that makes me a better employee and serves as a foundation for future advancement within my organization.”

Hoeman hopes that her advanced education will allow her to help her department, and therefore her organization, find new ways to affect change within patients’ lives. It will also serve as another stepping stone in her journey to professional success.