The End of My UIC Graduate Education, But Just the Beginning!

Suffice it to say things really started to hit me once I was boarded my flight from Atlanta to Chicago Midway on the evening of Wednesday, May 2nd.  A part of me was incredibly excited, another part of me was shocked in disbelief.  I’ve been doing this since January 2010, I thought to myself… where did the time go? A quick hour and fifteen minute flight later I found myself hopping in a cab heading to my hotel, energized for the evening thanks to the hour that I gained due to the time zone change.  A quick bite, some drinks and conversation with friends, and the night was complete.  Tomorrow was the big day.

Thursday’s weather was beautiful; I really couldn’t have asked for much more.  As the early afternoon drew upon me, I made my way to UIC’s campus, complete with cap and gown in hand.  I didn’t really know what to expect, but sure enough many other students (both graduate and undergraduate) lined the back halls waiting for the big show.  It was gametime.

In a nutshell, commencement was a success.  I had no idea just how big UIC was until I entered the UIC forum.  Attending commencement also gave me a chance to catch up with several colleagues, most of whom I hadn’t seen since December 2010.  Dr. Kenneth Cooper’s commencement speech, as well as Nisharag Shah’s response from the class of 2012 were well executed; I couldn’t have been more impressed.

Since graduating with my Master’s in Health Informatics (MSHI) at UIC, I was able to secure a new opportunity that has allowed me to apply everything that I’ve learned in the program directly on the job.  While my experience may not be entirely common, it is certainly not unheard of.  I had learned that several of my classmates, including those that graduated before me, and those that will graduate after me have secured new opportunities as well, many of which are highly desirable.  So it is at this point that I pause and take a moment to thank and recognize all the students, teachers, and faculty that have gone the extra mile to make the MSHI program at UIC what it is today: a springboard to bigger and better things.

Most importantly, I officially completed my goal of graduating from UIC’s MSHI program in a little over two years.  For me, this was a huge accomplishment.

On my flight back home to Atlanta, I was grinning ear to ear when I came across a special higher education section of Delta’s magazine titled The Virtual Classroom.  This is the future of education, and it’s here to stay!

“See” you around!

About the author


Ryan Esslinger

Ryan Esslinger is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago’s (UIC) Online Health Informatics Program. Ryan currently works full time as an Informatics Analyst at Wellstar Health System.


  • Ryan,

    Congratulations on your graduation! It’s been a pleasure to take the journey with you through your blogs here on Healthcare IT Today – I know I’m not the only one who will miss your progress reports! Best of luck to you in all of your future endeavors!


  • Hi Ryan,
    Thanks for sharing your experience. Congratulations on your graduation. I have a B.S in Laboratory Science and I work as a medical technologist at a hospital. As a recent graduate in this program and as an employee in this field, what can you say about the opportunities I can have if I graduate from UIC with MS in Health Informatics? Also do you learn database management also in this course?
    I will really appreciate your help.
    Thank you so much.

  • Hello Obaid,

    Put frankly, the opportunities in Health Informatics are nearly endless. Given your background in laboratory science and having worked at a hospital, obtaining an MS in Health Informatics would give you much more exposure. You could also work in laboratory information systems (LIS) if you have not had previous exposure.

    In UIC’s MSHI program, you learn a lot about databases and data in multiple classes, and there is a dedicated database management course offered.

    I hope this helps with your questions. Please keep them coming if you have any more.


  • Hi Ryan,

    I’m currently a student in the health informatics certificate program. I wonder as the courses progress, will I learn about the technical aspects of analyzing data outputs or programming a system for ehr. So far, I’m only learning about the social aspects of health informatics.

  • Hi Tom,

    I apologize for the delay. What you are describing is not necessarily specific to the UIC MSHI program. EHR is a topic that is obviously incorporated into multiple classes, but getting into the technical aspects of EHRs, etc. from a programming perspective (i.e. computer science programming) is not really what the program is about. Bear in mind that EHRs are only one aspect of health informatics, albeit a big one.


  • Hi Ryan,

    I am considering this program. I am currently a chiropractor wanting to transistion out of my field and into the hospital. I have 10 years of EHR experience and 6 being an IME. Do you think this program will help me transition into a hospital setting or consultant business?


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