Transform 2016: Giving college students a leg up on competition in the job market

Caroline Patton and Ashraf Ali smile easily as they reflect on their motivation to attend Transform 2016.

Patton and Ali were among 24 Health Administration students from Auburn University attending the conference, held from Sept. 14 -16 at Mayo Civic Center in Rochester.

Patton says she is on the fence about whether she wants a career as a physician’s assistant or a health care administrator. She was hoping the conference would help her make a decision, but attending Transform has only peaked her interest in both fields.

“Maybe I can do both,” she says laughing.

For Ali, the draw is hearing all the different perspectives from professionals across health care. He has enjoyed the opportunity to meet with the speakers after their sessions.

If there were any question about whether the conference was applicable for college students, that question was answered early on. Reflecting on a presentation about advertising’s impact on health care from the opening day, Patton says it all came full circle for her as one of her college papers was on the same topic. That’s just what Paula Bobrowski, Ph.D., had in mind.

Coming back year after year

Bobrowski has been bringing students to the Transform conference for the past four years.capture

“This is such a different experience for students and has a huge impact on them,” says Bobrowski who is Auburn’s associate dean for Research and Faculty Development in the College of Liberal
Arts. “We are really seeing how this impacts students and their classroom projects. It also is giving them a really big edge on the job market. When an employer sees that they have come to a conference about transformation and it has the Mayo name, it sets them apart.”

As a repeat visitor, Bobrowski has watched not only the conference format evolve, but also the conversation around health care itself.

“We tend to put health care in a small box,” she says. “In coming here over the years, I see how things are on a much grander scale now. Innovation and health care are interrelated. This is spreading from the small concept of health care into everything that we do.”

This conference, she says, is not just about the students attending in the current year. When they go back to Auburn University, the enthusiasm they share for the event inspires other students to want to attend as well. Denny Royal’s presentation on biomimicry especially resonated with Bobrowski.

Biology has been adapting to change for billions of years, she says, citing Royal.

“What we do today, and what we do on this earth is going to have an impact on the whole future of mankind,” Bobrowski says. “We need to learn from nature — however many years of knowledge through change. What we learn today has its impact on the future. And that’s why thoughtfulness is