Epidemiologist for the National Center for Health Statistics
When Steven Frenk ’05 was a student at Carthage, he worked closely with Professor Wayne Thompson for his undergraduate research experience on several survey research projects. With Prof. Thompson’s encouragement, Steven submitted a paper on his research findings and won first place in the Wisconsin Sociological Association’s Undergraduate Research Paper Competition.
“I would not have attended the conference or submitted a paper for the competition without Prof. Thompson’s encouragement. His support and enthusiasm for social science research played a key role in my development and current success.”
Steven encourages all students to build relationships with professors and to participate in opportunities to learn something new because it will be beneficial in the future. Steven still uses the skills he gained working with Prof. Thompson at his current job as an Epidemiologist for the National Center for Health Statistics, where conducts research on important public health issues and manages the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
“One of my favorite memories is when I worked for Prof. Thompson on campus during the summer and becoming excited about research and believing I could make a career out of it.”
What have you enjoyed most about your career?
“I enjoy having the opportunity to work with other committed professionals devoted to improving the health of the nation; including physicians, nutritionists, and statisticians. I have the ability to help solve important public health issues, such as the opioid epidemic and efforts to monitor prescription antibiotic use (to ensure that they are not being overused). I also like taking on new challenges. For example, I recently earned my project management professional certification.”
How did Carthage prepare you?
“The Sociology Department faculty members, especially Prof. Thompson, were instrumental. I worked with Prof. Thompson on several survey research projects, including ones sponsored by Carthage. I collected and analyzed survey data, interpreted findings, and learned how to report the results in an effective manner. These are all skills that came in handy in graduate school, and I still use them in my current job.”
How has your liberal arts education benefitted you?
“I led a project to reduce the length of the questionnaires in the health study I work on. The project involved working with subject matter experts, senior leadership, and federal agencies that funded the questionnaires. It took a lot of effort to stay organized and ensure that I was able to effectively communicate key aspects of the project; including its scope, timelines, and benefits to all the stakeholders. The analytical skills I learned from Prof. Thompson as well as communication skills I picked up through my membership in Delta Upsilon played a significant role in the project’s success.”