Colleagues discuss opportunities for professional growth through Career Investment Program

Mathew Mehnert, Myrah Manuel, and Emily Doskey.

In this "Mayo Clinic Employee Experiences" conversation, Emily Doskey and Mathew Mehnert discuss their experience participating in educational offerings through Mayo Clinic's Career Investment Program to advance their careers.

Mayo Clinic is a unique place: the culture, the values, the people. "Mayo Clinic Employee Experiences" explores the experiences of Mayo Clinic staff as they navigate life personally and professionally. Sharing these experiences increases understanding of others and ultimately contributes to finding connections, belonging and inclusion at work.   

In this episode of "Mayo Clinic Employee Experiences," Emily Doskey, D.N.P., a clinical nurse specialist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, and Mathew Mehnert, an EHR support analyst at Mayo Clinic in Arizona, discuss their experiences participating in educational offerings through Mayo Clinic's Career Investment Program to grow professionally.

Doskey shares her perspective on working as a registered nurse and going back to school to get her doctorate degree as a clinical nurse specialist. Mehnert shares his experience taking advantage of educational offerings at Mayo Clinic. He now is pursuing a bachelor's degree in data science through the Career Investment Program with aspirations to further his education beyond that.

Listen as Doskey and Mehnert share their experiences:

Read the transcript

Narrator: This is the "Mayo Clinic Employee Experiences" podcast, where we build trust and belonging through the authentic storytelling of our Mayo Clinic staff. In this episode, you will hear Emily, a clinical nurse specialist, and Mathew, an EHR support analyst, discuss their experiences participating in educational offerings at Mayo Clinic to advance their careers.

Mehnert: I'm happy to discuss my experience with Mayo Clinic's ability to promote education. I started here almost freshly out of high school. I was part of the Professional Development and Advancement Program, and that's what allowed me to be able to obtain my associate's degree. Once I was able to get my associate's degree, that was right around the same time they opened up the Career Investment Program.

Considering that on my mother's side of the family, the highest education level is an associate's degree, I want to pave a path for my future generation. About two years ago, I applied to the Career Investment Program, and I enrolled for a bachelor's in data science. It's been a great experience so far.

Doskey: That is such a needed career. As a nurse, I interact with them all the time. I am so grateful that we have people in so many different areas of Mayo Clinic who are so knowledgeable and specialized in their areas.

I started as a nurse back in 2014, and it was always a dream of mine to work at Mayo Clinic. I got a job here in 2016 after my husband started graduate school here. After working for a few years, I started to think about going back to school.

I started working as a clinical resource nurse at the same time as I was in school to become a clinical nurse specialist in graduate school. I worked in that training position and had the mentorship of different people, especially in Cardiology, and many different clinical nurse specialists who helped train me. I was able to use what I was learning while in school and put it directly into practice.

One thing I'm really grateful for with the Career Investment Program is that they've been able to partner with so many local universities and colleges throughout the U.S.

Emily Doskey

That was such a unique opportunity and I think, a unique role that Mayo has. I originally started in the Professional Development and Advancement Program like you did. Then, with about two years left in school, they were able to open up the Career Investment Program.

I was able to apply for the clinical nurse specialist track and got in. If you had asked me back in high school, at the time, finishing an RN program would have been the most major accomplishment in my life. Being able to go as high as graduate school and finish my doctorate degree in nursing has just been such a blessing, and I still can't believe I was able to do it.

Mehnert: I totally agree. If you were to ask me what I wanted to do back in high school, even during my associate's degree, I was to be a professional soccer player. I've never joined a league.

Even maybe a year or two ago before we started our education, it may not have even been a thought that this is something we're capable of doing. This is something that we had the opportunity to do. It is an adjustment. And I think your experience will absolutely vary from mine.

Did you ever feel there was a kind of a juggling act or a balancing act between work and school?

Doskey: It was such a balance to work full-time and then also go to school part-time to full-time, depending on the semester. That is a balance, and it's really hard. Family, friends and colleagues who help support you along the way really make a difference.

The position that I'm in right now is also thanks to the fact that I was able to obtain my associate's degree.

Mathew Mehnert

Most of my graduate school happened during the pandemic. That added a lot of complexity to an ever-changing healthcare system, and what your clinicals were going to look like and the different requirements to get different places.

Mehnert: My associate's degree was in computer information technology. While going to school, I was in an administrative role. I've done a lot of the front-end responsibilities. For me, my education and my work were never directly related. I think it was just a matter of my interest in computers that has always been a helping or supportive factor. I don't mind spending 20 hours additional a week studying and applying the knowledge. It definitely took up some of my hobby time.

You mentioned that your husband was going through graduate school. Does he work here?

Doskey: My husband was part of the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. He finished his Ph.D. right about the same time as I did.

You will get back to a lot of the hobbies that you have and get back to things that you enjoy. I know it does take time, though, when you are in school.                 

Mehnert: My girlfriend just finished her certificate through the Career Investment Program. Now she's in Research. With the opportunity for the Career Investment Program, she's going back later this year to start her master's in a science field.

Doskey: That's really exciting. Congratulations. I think that's something that is unique about Mayo. I've known people who have started right after high school and worked through different career advancements throughout their whole career here. The possibilities are endless. If you find that this is your calling, there are resources to help you. They're investing in our teams.

Mehnert: Absolutely. It is exciting. There's maybe a little bit of an understanding when you're both going through school. You both know and understand the hardships. You both understand, "I need this space. I need this resource. I need this quiet time. We both need a break. Let's go ahead and decompress. We'll go for a drive and hit the books again." It's a good experience when you're going through it together because you can empathize with the experiences that come with higher education.

Doskey: It's good if you have someone who can help support you through it because the journey is not always easy, and the obstacles that you have to face are challenging. One thing I'm really grateful for with the Career Investment Program is that they've been able to partner with so many local universities and colleges throughout the U.S. Mine happened to be one of them. It made my clinical experience so much more seamless, and I didn't have to have the added stress of trying to get my clinical setup.

Mehnert: The position that I'm in right now is also thanks to the fact that I was able to obtain my associate's degree.

Doskey: There are so many different opportunities out there. I'm a huge fan of education. If you can have someone assist you, it's such a financial stress that is taken off the shoulders for me and my family. You can focus on your studies, and that financial piece is taken out of it.

Mehnert: It is a little nerve-wracking when you find out some of the metrics in terms of being grateful for the opportunity for the Career Investment Program and being able to apply and understand that you're being gifted the opportunity for that free education, that opportunity for growth. Being given this opportunity, you definitely don't want to waste it because this opportunity is something that somebody else could have had the same chance to do. I feel like maybe that adds to some of the pressure that I feel when I go through these courses. I just want to make the most of the opportunity.

Doskey: I think that's the biggest piece of advice that I would give to someone who is thinking about going back to school. When it gets hard, it's worth your time to do it. But make sure you have a good support system so your friends, your family and your colleagues will help support you along the journey.

If you apply yourself the right way, not even the sky's the limit.

Mathew Mehnert

Secondly, education is always a gift. And when it gets hard, remember that it is this gift that you've been given. Stop and pause and appreciate that we have such an opportunity here to advance ourselves. I feel very fortunate for that. I wish that for others around the world.

One other thing is, if you apply to the Career Investment Program and don't get it the first time, try not to let that get in the way of your educational goals. Reapply again in the future. It can be competitive sometimes. Know that there are so many options out there to help you with the financial burden of education, whether that be scholarships through your educational institution or scholarships through Mayo Clinic. In the Department of Nursing, there are amazing scholarships from different benefactors available for people to apply. Make sure to be flexible with however you're able to look for financial assistance to go back to school.

Mehnert: I totally agree. Do you have any other goals that you plan on trying to obtain?

Doskey: I'm really enjoying my work as a clinical nurse specialist. I do have some career goals to publish some of the amazing work that our nurses are working on right now and to get to some conferences. It's important that we're able to share it with the rest of the world. I think that's my biggest goal right now.

Mehnert: In terms of higher education for me, I never really understood how high I wanted to go. But after going for my bachelor's, and I have been supported by a plethora of people, friends and family, I think I want to go for my master's. Seeing my girlfriend do her research and understanding the career paths that open up when you have specialized education, I definitely want to be able to continue to grow. And if anything, I'm proud of my work ethic. I know that if I were to continue to climb the professional ladder, I would be able to, in my mind, do great things. And I think I can only be able to climb as high as I'm able to apply myself in that education capacity. I don't know where it ends. However, I know that after my bachelor's, I will definitely take the opportunity to go for my master's, at a minimum.

Doskey: I'm really excited to see where your career goes for you and your girlfriend. I wish you luck in your career, but I also wish you the opportunity to take a break if you need it. So don't burn yourself out.

Mehnert: I hear that a lot.

Doskey: You don't have to do it all at once. I did my RN and then had about a five-year gap before I went on. You're allowed to take a break if you need it.

I also want to thank my family, my friends, colleagues and all the nurses. It's an honor to support and improve their practice on a daily basis.

Mehnert: My mother and my sister have been a huge support in my education, and my girlfriend as well. The person who recommended me for this podcast is also a great inspiration. If you apply yourself the right way, not even the sky's the limit. There's so much more, so I just want to say thank you to all of them.

Doskey:  Whoever is listening, I hope you feel inspired to accomplish your educational goals and know that the Career Investment Program is an option to help you get there.

Narrator: Thank you both for sharing your experience with us and utilizing your resources at Mayo Clinic to advance your career. We wish you all the success in your future goals at Mayo Clinic. Sharing experiences like these increases our understanding of one another and ultimately contributes to finding connections, belonging and inclusion at work. For more stories, subscribe to "Mayo Clinic Employee Experiences" on popular podcast apps.


The Career Investment Program works with select academic partners to offer degree and certificate programs. The offerings are chosen based on staff needs and interests and alignment with Mayo's strategic plan to Cure, Connect and Transform healthcare.

Visit the Career Investment Program website to learn more and review the latest offerings. Use the filters on the website to refine your search.

Consider these educational offerings for in-demand careers:

  • Phlebotomy (Certification)
  • Surgical Technology (Diploma or Associate)
  • Surgical Assistant (Associate, Certificate, or Master's)
  • Laboratory Animal Technologist — LATG (Certification)
  • Laboratory Animal Technician — LAT (Certification)
  • Assistant Laboratory Animal Technician — ALAT (Certification)

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