Mason is...Driven to Serve
Diving into Data to Boost Patient Care
Ilirjeta “Jeta” Krasniqi is accustomed to overcoming challenges. Krasniqi came to the United States at age 5, when she and her family left war-torn Albania. They returned to their homeland, but found the nation’s stability was still an issue.
“My mom saw the situation wasn’t going to be ideal for us to grow up in,” she says. They returned to the United States when she was 10, and Krasniqi feared having to repeat a grade. But she was promoted to the next grade level and continued to excel.
“I wanted to be a nurse, and I knew the nursing program at George Mason University was competitive, so I said, ‘I need to get straight A’s.’ That was my goal, and I achieved it,” she says.
While in college, she worked as a nurse’s aide at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington. “I realized that [nursing] wasn’t what I imagined it to be; I had a very romantic view of the nursing profession.”
She still wanted to be in a health care field, and Mason’s health informatics program, which includes computer science, information science, and medicine, seemed like a good fit.
After graduating in December with a bachelor’s degree in health administration, she’ll help people live healthier lives by analyzing medical data and identifying shortfalls in patient care.
“From the first day I met Jeta, she expressed the self-confidence and the motivation required to succeed in whatever profession she selected for herself. She has been proactive in seeking internships that would challenge her and require her to be a self-starter.”
— Professor Kathie Westpheling, College of Health and Human Services
Krasniqi recently landed an internship with Evolent Health in Arlington, while maintaining her position as a nurse’s aide, and persuaded her employer at Virginia Hospital Center to let her join the health informatics team.
By working at Evolent and at a hospital, she’s able to learn more about health informatics in two very different settings, Krasniqi says.
Staff in Mason’s Department of Health Administration and Policy also included her in their research projects. Health informatics researcher Janusz Wojtusiak said Krasniqi volunteered to help with a research project aimed at improving medical data analysis. “Her contributions to the work resulted in Jeta co-authoring a journal manuscript, a conference paper and two abstracts, which is an extraordinary achievement for an undergraduate student,” Wojtusiak says.
“It’s crazy that someone is going to read the paper I worked on,” Krasniqi says. “To know I contributed a little bit is amazing.”