Claire McCarthy ’11
Health Science Policy Analyst, National Cancer Institute
For Claire McCarthy ’11, her major in biochemistry and the liberal arts education she gained at Hiram College were fundamental in preparing her for her current role. As a health science policy analyst for the National Cancer Institute, she acts as the voice of the organization, sharing news and information with various audiences. In the field of science communication, McCarthy must remain knowledgeable on health topics by attending seminars or interviewing experts in the field, while also translating this information for the general public. “My well-rounded education at Hiram prepared me for a career in science communication,” says McCarthy. “I use multidisciplinary knowledge from all of my Hiram classes in my job, which ranged from Nonverbal Communications to Organic Chemistry.”
When McCarthy graduated from Hiram, she attended the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, where she earned her PhD in toxicology. For her thesis, she studied the impact that burning biomass can have on the lungs and identified the health risks associated with this practice. NPR featured McCarthy and her work in an article, recognizing the importance of her findings and the processes she developed for testing.
For students just starting their college journey, McCarthy recommends that students “be open to change based on your experiences and journey.” McCarthy didn’t recognize her interest in science communication until she was a PhD student. Based on this growing interest, she joined the Health Communications Internship Program at the National Cancer Institute and was then hired full-time for their Division of Cancer Biology. According to McCarty, “Even though I didn’t fully realize my passion in science communication until after I graduated from Hiram, my experiences there laid the foundation and gave me the skills to succeed in this field.”