It’s Who You Know

-by Kelsey Gohn ’16

I didn’t expect to find my junior year internship so easily given what I had observed from the experiences of my peers, but one of Berger’s partner summer internship programs turned out to be the perfect experience for me. During CMC’s Silicon Valley Program, I was able to connect with a Berger board member in the Bay Area and hear about her experiences both at CMC and with her work in healthcare. She also connected me to her network at Kaiser Permanente; it was great to have Berger in common.

When next summer rolled around, I knew I was going to apply to the Berger Institute’s internship at Kaiser because I had already met several members of the team. It was a great way for me to secure an internship at a company that I wanted to work at, while having the comfort of knowing that it had been vetted by CMC. Midway through the summer, Professor Kanaya met with our supervisor to ensure that we were getting a fantastic experience, and we were able to make a few tweaks so that the second half was even better.

At KP, I was able to work on innovation projects and their annual Bring Your Child to Work Day. I met so many wonderful people who made time to talk with me so I could see the range of full-time opportunities available. So far, this has helped make the transition into the senior year job search go much more smoothly.

When “They” Became “We”

by Lauren Livingston ’18

As a first-semester sophomore and the newest, youngest member of the Work-Life team, I had various concerns about transitioning and adding value to the team. At the beginning of the year, walking into the first team meeting was a daunting experience. How was I going to fit in? What was I going to do?

The team was already relatively established, consisting of two seniors and one alum, all of them with years of experience. Over the years, they had worked together and developed a strong team dynamic through their long nights and their successes. I joined the institute without any prior experience or knowledge about their current project and their members. However, to my delightful surprise, the minute I walked into the first meeting they spent the first hour explaining the project in­ depth to me and then updating me on their newest idea. In addition, I was immediately given an assignment to help the project by coding free response survey data.

Since the first meeting, the team has kept me continuously involved in everyone’s project and asked for my feedback. From my experiences and interactions with the members, I have learned that the authenticity of the Berger Institute is reflected by individual members’ internal drive to research their passions. I have also been given the opportunity to perceive the Berger Institute as an inclusive, ambitious, and academic community.

Working at FWI

-by Kelsey Gohn ’16

Like everyone else at CMC, by January I felt very behind in my internship search. Luckily, as a research assistant at Berger, I had already connected with one of their summer internship partners, Families and Work Institute, and it was the clear choice for my sophomore summer.

At FWI, I was able to spend the summer in NYC working on projects that continued my research CMC research while developing professional skills. The FWI team lives their research about effective workplaces, which has been a huge asset for my professional development, especially since it was one of my first real office experiences.

My main project involved working on their massive annual national award program, “When Work Works,” with a mostly remote team reviewing surveys from thousands of employees from across the nation’s best companies. While in the trenches of data entry from the paper surveys, I learned a lot about data validity and survey management, but also how to effectively communicate with a remote teammate. It was a challenge to communicate expectations over email, but it allowed me to grow and learn what I need to ask for my supervisor to gain clarity on a project.  It was a big jump for me as a student to enter the real work world, but I enjoyed learning with a supportive staff and I had a blast with them both in and outside of the workplace.

I ultimately decided that I didn’t see myself working as research psychologist, but the knowledge I gained from the research and from my experiences really helped guide me through the rest of my time at CMC.


Completing 3 Years at Berger

-by Adrienne Johnson ’16

“Have you ever worked with numbers?” “Give an example of an experience you’ve had with analytical work.” “Have you ever worked on a team?”

These are questions I’ve recently had fired my way, since I’m a senior wrapping up my job search. Fortunately, I was able to immediately respond to all of these by thinking back on my past three years as a research assistant at the Berger Institute. While my international relations coursework provides me the opportunity to explore topics I find stimulating and strengthen my writing skills, my numbers-based analytical skills were lacking throughout my academic career at CMC. Working at Berger has helped fill this gap in my skillset. For example, while working on the Work-Life project, we performed statistical analyses observing the correlations between people of different college majors and their long­term goals. Gaining a basic knowledge of statistical analysis has thoroughly benefitted me in my career search, as my major is less applicable to my career goals.

Likewise, in interviews I spoke to my experiences working on a team at the Berger Institute. I know I can be a strong team player because I have been one for almost three years. We’ve conducted three-hour brainstorming sessions, planned our survey questions and bounced ideas off of each other. My Berger experience has allowed me to develop transferrable skills for my professional life, which I look forward to starting soon.



-Kelsey Gohn ’16

Through the Berger Institute I’ve been able to have the liberal arts in action experience: I’ve been able to expand my research interests into a real world application and connect with the CMC community in ways that without the board I never would have been able to.

While Professor Kanaya was visiting my summer internship at KP, we were able to meet with another wonderful board member, Dr. Andrea Neves. She had so many stories to share and gave fantastic advice from her broad range of experiences over an amazing dinner. She gave us direction on what she felt like were great skills to gather during our time at CMC, like how to critically think as well as how she felt like liberal arts were an incredibly important part of our education. I’ve definitely taken her advice with me into my senior year and appreciated the opportunity to connect with the larger CMC family during my summer in new city.

I’ve also had opportunity to connect with CMC board members on campus as well as meet incredibly interesting people through Berger sponsored events. Berger sponsored Congressman Jason Altmire’s Ath talk on the Affordable Care Act. Since Professor Kanaya knew I was interested in healthcare, she set me up to speak with him before the event and sit at the head table with him. It was definitely a once in a lifetime in an opportunity to connect with him and have a frank discussion about his experience drafting health care policy.  I’ve made some great connections through Berger network and all of the wonderful people I met have shaped my career at CMC. I’m not sure that’s something people realize when they become a research assistant at an institute, not only do they gain the experience of research, but also a community.