Mary Girard

Building Skills for the Future

Program: Certificate In Data Science

Hometown: Seymour, Indiana

Career Goals: Use technology to tell patients' stories


Mary Girard isn’t someone to rest on her laurels.

Girard is a coding supervisor at the Schneck Medical Center in Seymour, Ind., and when the opportunity arose to earn a certificate in data science through the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering's new online program, she jumped at the chance.

“Being in the hospital system is where I want to be, but I certainly want to go upward and onward with my management and decision-making abilities,” Girard says. “I thought since I’m in the medical field in a coding component, I needed to investigate that type of enhancement to my career path. That’s how I got into it.”

Girard is currently enrolled in IU’s online program taking Data Science in Drug Discovery, Health, and Translational Medicine with associate professor David Wild. The course has already made an impact on Girard and changed the way she approaches her work.

“Up to this point, I’ve told the story from the patient’s arrival at the hospital,” Girard says. “In the future of healthcare with molecular connections, genomics, medications, drug development or drug therapies, I’m going to have to tell the story of the patient’s entire life. We’re going to know so much more data about where they came from. That’s going to help us to discuss where they’re going to go successfully.”

The course has also helped Girard better see the scope of the care being provided.

“What I’ve come to know after being in the program for a short amount of time is that there are events, processes, etc., happening well before the patient meets with the doctor for their care that have a direct impact on how that care is delivered, how that care is recorded, how that care is paid for, how that care turns into a negative or a positive for the patient or their family,” Girard says. “It is incredible.”

Girard loves learning, and she has had nothing but positive experiences with IU’s online course. She finds the computer programming aspect of the course to be a challenge, but she believes she’s on the cutting edge of technology.

“There are two different paths this certificate approaches – the technical or the decision-maker,” Girard says. “I would say I fall more on the decision-maker side of the coin, but I think the potential for future development for anybody who has an interest in biomedics or medical device development or physician care or nursing care would bring a lot of richness to this program. It’s not just about the data. It’s about building it, understanding it and conveying it.”

“I’m excited about where we’re going in this whole field, and I want to be a part of that. I know this program will help me do that.”