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Paige Ahern HPA
“With the health policy and administration program, you get the best of health care and business courses. I knew that the classes and skills I learned in the major would help my career aspirations of being in medical device sales.”
Paige Ahern
'19 HPA graduate

When it came time to explore options for college, Paige Ahern traveled to Penn State University Park for a weekend and immediately fell in love with the college.

“When I came to Penn State for a tour, I knew it was where I wanted to be. Penn State has a strong academic background and offers so much more than just an education,” said Ahern. The energy I felt walking on the campus and the environment, it felt like a second home to me.”

She adds that the robust alumni network was also one of the draws in coming to Penn State. “As a graduating senior, the connections I’ve made with Penn State alumni are going to be extremely helpful when applying to jobs.”

Ahern was undecided in her major when she first began her undergraduate studies, but after meeting with her adviser to talk about her interests, they worked together to help pave the perfect path for her future.

“My mom works in sales and always encouraged me to think about sales as a career,” said Ahern. “I knew from the start that I wanted to be in a field that would make a positive impact, which led me to health policy and administration.”

Once she began her courses, she became interested in sales, but still wanted to be in the health care field. This is where she thought about medical device sales.

"With the health policy and administration program, you get the best of health care and business courses. I knew that the classes and skills I learned in the major would help my career aspirations of being in medical device sales.” said Ahern. “In medical device sales, you get to work with people to make a difference in their life and create your own success.”

During high school, Ahern dedicated her time as an ambassador at Yale New Haven Hospital in New Haven, Connecticut. As an ambassador, Ahern greeted patients in different areas of the hospital and transported them to their appointments. She continued her volunteer work in college, where she volunteered at LifeLink PSU, an organization that serves special education students, engaging them in academic programs and helps them gain independence.

LifeLink PSU partners with Penn State students to help individuals from the State College Area School District Department of Special Education. “Just a small portion of the time you give makes these students happy,” Ahern said.

Outside of the classroom, Ahern was also involved in Penn State’s chapter of Phi Gamma Nu, a professional business fraternity, Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, where she served as communications director from December 2016 – December 2017, and helped to raise funds for THON.

She also completed an internship with Mount Nittany Health’s communications department where she worked on promotional aspects of the hospital’s website, social media, internal communications and community outreach. “My internship experience allowed me to be exposed to the corporate side of a healthcare system. It helped me to make connections and get contacts for prospective medical device companies.”

Ahern credits the connections she made with HPA professors as a key factor in her success. “For students looking to pursue a degree in HPA, my advice is to make connections with your professors. The professors in the HPA program are what makes the program so special.” She adds that the relationships she made with professors will help her beyond her four years at the university.

“I am really grateful for the opportunities I’ve had during my time at Penn State. Penn State helped me become who I am today.”