Growing up in Columbia, Maryland, Trudel Pare was surrounded by public policy. The city, located thirty miles north of Washington, DC, is a hub of government activity, with many of its residents commuting to DC and nearby Baltimore for public service jobs. Trudel’s family was no exception: many of those close to her commuted to the capital. “From a very early age,” Trudel attests, “I was well aware of policy and its importance just from being around my family.”
As a student in Penn’s College of Arts and Sciences, Trudel has been able to deepen her own interest in public policy, and more specifically, healthcare policy. “Many of my family members are involved in healthcare in some way,” she states, “whether by working for the Center for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS) or through various other federal healthcare contractors.” Throughout her time at Penn, Trudel has enjoyed an impressive range of professional experiences that have helped her develop a keen understanding of the challenges facing healthcare policymakers. In the summer of her freshman year, Trudel interned at CF Health Advisors, an independent healthcare consulting firm, where she performed research on many topics relating to Medicaid, Medicare, the Affordable Care Act, and other aspects of the healthcare system for both payees and providers. Trudel stayed with the firm as a Policy Analyst until May 2015, when she went on to intern with the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) in DC. In October 2015, Trudel began volunteering with Service Link, a community based program through Penn’s Center for Public Health Initiatives that assists low-income Philadelphians in securing basic living and health needs.
Alongside her breadth of work in healthcare, Trudel found the time to dedicate herself to another project close to her heart. Like many people around the country, Trudel felt that, after the most recent presidential election, she needed to become more politically active. The only issue was that, while often involved in policy research, Trudel was not entirely sure where to start when it came to political activism. To help herself and others like her, Trudel cofounded the Penn Congressional Call Center. As she states, “The Center aims to create a space that serves as both a resource and a guide for students who are looking to make change but do not know the best practices in reaching their representatives.” The larger hope of the PCCC is to create a permanent space on campus that breaks down intimidating aspects of activism by providing a safe and friendly outlet for becoming politically involved, bringing students of all political affiliations closer to their government.
When Trudel is not focusing on politics and public policy, she likes making people laugh. Shortly after arriving at Penn, she became involved in the Bloomers Comedy Troupe, which prides itself in being the nation’s first all-female collegiate comedy troupe. “I have been involved in theatre, public speaking, and performance for most of my life,” Trudel states, “so Bloomers was a natural fit.” Through her work as the Troupe Chairwoman, Bloomers has affected Trudel’s life tremendously, allowing her to learn leadership skills and the ins and outs of team management, while gaining vast experience in working through conflict—personal skills that will serve her where no matter where she goes.
As she looks toward her May graduation, Trudel continues to weigh the various opportunities ahead of her. She would, however, like to work with a startup, at least in the short run. “Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, a lot of venture capital funds have been poured into healthcare, causing it to experience a lot of change and turmoil,” she states. “I think a startup would be a fascinating way to experience much of that change while getting a new perspective on the industry as whole.” Whatever direction Trudel takes, she did make one thing perfectly clear: “Eventually, I know I will definitely work in public policy.”