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Punam Patel
Name: Punam Patel
Residence: Columbia, South Carolina
Occupation: Systems operations, Palmetto Health

Punam Patel ’12 describes her time at Winthrop University as “nothing short of a rollercoaster.”

Knowing from a young age that she wanted to be a family medicine primary care physician, the Columbia, South Carolina, resident first arrived at Winthrop as a pre-med biology major, but quickly realized it wasn’t the path she truly wanted. She moved back home for two years to do some soul-searching and complete core courses from Midlands Technical College, earning an associate degree in the arts.

“Through spending time with some incredible mentors, I discovered that the field of healthcare business aligned better with my general interests. My research found that Winthrop was the best place to receive undergraduate training in this field,” she said, noting that the university offers the only certified healthcare management program in the state.

This go-around, what would become her true Winthrop experience unfolded.

“It was as if I had discovered my calling and purpose,” Patel said. “My advisor and professor, Dr. Michael Matthews, quickly became a mentor that helped me work through my newfound passion.”

The College of Business Administration’s healthcare management program requires a 400-hour summer internship. Patel feels blessed to have had the opportunity to do her internship at Palmetto Health, the largest and most comprehensive non-profit health care system in the midlands region of South Carolina. Winthrop prides itself on giving students real-world experience and building their network. No surprise, then, that Patel made this connection through the classroom: a representative from the Palmetto Health spoke at one of her classes.

Patel now serves as the manager of system operations at Palmetto Health, where she is responsible for supporting strategic initiatives and system operations.

“The networking opportunities and practical experiences provided through the internship propelled my journey into the industry in the form of employment,” she said. “Almost six years later, I continue to serve at this extraordinary organization and will always be eternally grateful to Winthrop for opening the door.” 

Last updated 3/10/17

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