Prairie Portrait: Sophie Milord, senior at the University of Iowa
Name: Sophie Milord
Bio: Creative software developer and marathoner. When I cook, my friends label the kitchen "Sophie's Cafe."
Title: Student Programmer at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics
Residence: Iowa City, Iowa
Intro music: "Here and Heaven," performed by Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile, Stuart Duncan, Yo-Yo Ma and Aoife O'Donovan. This doesn't have much to do with anything, but it's something I keep coming back to. "Here and Heaven" on the collaborative bluegrass album "Goat Rodeo Sessions." A little bit of bluegrass mixed with a folk-y sound that reminds me of Gaelic Storm. Spine-chilling vocals and powerful lyrics.
Silicon Prairie News: You're working on a project tentatively called "Shakespeare in the Kitchen." Can you explain what the project is and what your goals are for it?
Sophie Milord: “Shakespeare in the Kitchen” is a fun project that appeals to my creative side. It is a cheerful product line of kitchen apparel and décor. Playing on the passionate nature of Shakespeare’s expression of love in his work, all the pieces in the collection will feature a slightly modified quotation on the topic of love. This variation is where the uniqueness of the product manifests itself. The quotations will be humorous yet recognizable, hopefully generating appeal across a wide market. My plan is currently to start showing prototypes at craft shows. All products will be sustainably produced, featuring organic and fair-trade cotton.
The tip of the iceberg:
“My kitchen is ever at your service.”
Adapted from Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens.
SPN: In your work as a developer for the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, what are some of the most important lessons you've learned about where technology is taking the health care industry?
SM: Technology in health care is able to streamline patient interaction with and accessibility to their records. UIHC now employs MyChart (developed by Epic Systems) to allow patients direct access to their charts. This eliminates patient guesswork and allows for more conscientious and preventative medicine.
Some of the software I create aids in the billing cycle, eliminating and catching human error. Often, claims cannot be processed until they are passed through systems I design. This has shown a light on the issue of transparency in health care billing. My professor of entrepreneurial marketing was not shy about his habit of “shopping around” for health care to find the best price for a given procedure. Billing should not be an arbitrary assignment of numbers, but I find that this is sometimes the case in the health care industry. I hope that specially designed software can continue to simplify and bring clarity to this process.
SPN: What drove your decision to incorporate entrepreneurial management into your coursework? Can you pinpoint when you were first bitten by the entrepreneurial bug?
SM: The certificate of entrepreneurial management is invaluable because of the nature of the delivery of course material. I learned practical skills in developing an idea into a viable venture. I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit. My house growing up was located off a golf course. When golf balls would land in my yard, I sold them back to the golfers along with cold lemonade.
In one of my courses, I wrote a business plan outlining a software company for managing small businesses. As I continue my education in computer science, my tech ambitions have grown from aiding the next big thing to actually becoming the next big thing. This summer I’m teaching myself app development for Android.
SPN: You've worked as both a gymnastics instructor and a swim team coach. When the Olympics roll around in a couple of weeks, will you devote more attention to the gym or the pool, and why?
SM: I will be keeping my eyes on Team USA Gymnastics. While swimming provides a great personal challenge, gymnastics is dramatic and entertaining. Gymnastics is an exciting sport for the equal amounts of strength and grace required to do each and every movement. Every individual skill requires weeks to hone. The 2012 women’s team is a fresh group of athletes with no Olympic experience. One advantage they have over other great teams is each individual’s unique and specialized skill sets, making them a very competitive group.
SPN: Your Twitter activity seems to indicate you're a fan of Hoodie Allen, who worked at Google before his rap career took off. Imagine for a moment you go from your current tech work to hip-hop stardom. What's your stage name, and what are the subjects you're best known for rhyming about?
SM: I’m your Homegrown Sophaloaf. Throw down a beat and I’ll start spittin’ rhymes about ultimate Frisbee and puppies. Sometimes I get into the deep stuff like ending puppy mills, but I like to stay true to me and keep it fun. My summer single is about my passion for grilling some BBQ out under the sun (free-range, grass-fed beef, of course).
Credits: Photo courtesy of Milord.
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