Vanessa Roxo ’14 always knew a profession in healthcare was in her future, but after two years in the nursing track at Elms, she discovered healthcare administration was really her passion.

“I got halfway through my nursing studies and realized it really wasn’t the right career choice. I knew I wanted to work in a hospital, just not clinically,” she said.

Photo of Vanessa Roxo '14

After talking with Elms Business Division Chair David Kimball, Ph.D., she found the healthcare management degree, although a new program at Elms at the time, was exactly what she was looking for.

One reason Vanessa chose Elms in the first place was that it is a small campus, close to her Ludlow home. The child of Portuguese immigrants who spoke no English when they arrived in western Massachusetts in November 1992, it was important to Vanessa to be near her close-knit family.

Vanessa graduated in December 2014 with a degree in healthcare management, having already secured a job as an administrative assistant in the gastroenterology department at Baystate Medical Center.

The job came after a three-month internship– a degree requirement, at Baystate with the director of the Department of Medicine, Jack Bailey.

“I worked closely with him on staff duties, physicians’ master schedules…he mentored me and brought me to meetings as part of his team. Working in this support role helped me realize that that’s where I want to be,” Vanessa said.

Vanessa’s internship experience at Baystate, in addition to leading to her own job, could also benefit future students in the healthcare management program. It would be a great partnership between the college and the hospital, she said, because students need internships and the hospital needs interns all year-round.

Being a hospital director is Vanessa’s ultimate goal, with more immediate plans of pursuing a master’s degree. She’ll have an advantage with that, because the programs she’s interested in require two years of experience.

She could also put her training in nursing to good use: if she completes the additional coursework required for an associate’s degree, she could pursue a job in clinical supervision, managing how nurses work.