Jordan Mabalatan: Lifelong Learning from the Virtual Classroom to Parenthood
My time at Penn has been a period of both professional and personal growth. When I started the MCIT Online program in the Spring of 2020, I had recently pivoted my career from practicing as a registered nurse to working as an Epic analyst, where I work on building and optimizing the software that clinicians use to take care of patients. My main areas of expertise include the electronic health record (EHR), mobile health applications, and other integrated technologies (patient monitoring devices, patient alarm systems, etc.) As the COVID-19 pandemic progressed, I found myself working on COVID-specific tools to assist in contact tracing and vaccination documentation. Days working on the frontlines with clinical staff turned into remote meetings and collaboration online with my colleagues in IT to support the organization.
While my professional life shifted to a virtual format, the ability to further my education and take MCIT courses online has always been a big selling point of the program. Due to the online format, students are no longer bound by geographical location and I have been afforded the opportunity to pursue a world-class education at Penn, while maintaining my full-time job in New York City.
Diversity in education matters and the flexibility to complete the program at your own pace has contributed to the welcomed variety of adult learners in the program. Some students are continuing their education straight out of undergrad, some are experienced professionals looking to make a career pivot, while others are looking to leverage their Penn education to advance the current trajectory of their career.
The program faculty and staff have created an enriching, supportive community that has fostered my personal and professional growth. Personally, I was able to fully enjoy my time as a new father by taking a leave of absence to bond with my newborn daughter. Professionally, I have been able to take advantage of summers in the program by exploring my interests through various internships. I spent a previous summer at Bristol Myers Squibb as an Informatics Intern, working on predictive models for enrollment and screen failure in clinical trials and I look forward to spending this summer as a Data Analytics Intern at a health tech startup that uses artificial intelligence to automate workflows and reduce redundancy in healthcare.
As a parent in the MCIT program, I’ve realized very quickly that learning never ends. As an engineering student, I am learning about data structures, software design, and algorithms. However, as a father, I find myself constantly in awe, watching my daughter grow and learning how to adapt to the world around her. As a self-identified lifelong learner, I hope to pass on a continuous thirst for knowledge and a sense of curiosity to my mini-Quaker. I hope that my story can provide encouragement to current and prospective students supporting a family and inspires those who wish to further their education.