Spring 2012 TRINITY Magazine, Real World Success
Joni Weidenaar ’11
Title: Visiting Research Data Analyst/Medical Case Manager, Center on Mental Health Services Research and Policy at University of Illinois at Chicago
Joni Weidenaar is part of a collaborative team conducting research on severe mental illness and diabetes. She works alongside nurse practitioners in two clinics providing appropriate diabetes, nutrition, and exercise education; setting self-management goals; and conducting motivational interviews. She also helps coordinate specialized medical care and community support. Weidenaar tracks the participants’ medical outcomes and wellness progress and reports to the research team.
Trinity’s preparation for the career: “Statistics. Statistics. Statistics class. The federal government and other research entities fund the studies I am helping conduct and the results inform the government how to fund mental health policy. Further preparation came from the Chicago Semester where my internship became my current job.”
Trinity’s preparation for life: “College prepared me personally by teaching me humility. We do research in psychology to have a positive effect on the populations we study, but I am studying a population to which I do not belong. How can I educate who I do not understand? First, I must listen and admit what I cannot change. Second, I pursue what I can change. Humility has a positive effect on my job performance.”
Integrating faith in the classroom: “Almost all my interactions outside of class with professors had a mentoring quality. They fielded my difficult questions and helped me make sense of my illogical mumblings. These discussions helped clarify my academic understanding and most importantly started to build the integration of faith and work.”