For the first time as a new College of Public Health and Human Sciences, the college formally recognized preceptors and site supervisors on June 11 and thanked them for providing internships and learning opportunities for students.
Internships can take many forms, are held at several different locations and have varied effects on each student. Some of those students shared the value of their experiences with a crowd of about 100 during the reception, hosted by Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs Mark Hoffman and Dean Tammy Bray.
Students often feel a disconnect between classroom learning and the so-called real world, and internships can bridge that gap by taking learning off campus and helping students experience the workplace. What they learn can be affirming, eye-opening and even life-changing.
Savannah Powell is a new alumna who received her bachelor’s degree in public health, interned at Avamere and is planning to attend nursing school. She admitted that she initially saw the internship requirement as a “speed bump,” but that she now sees it as “the greatest learning experience I had in college.” During her time at Lebanon Rehab, she says she had the opportunity to go behind the scenes and manage people, participate in meetings, and learn to read medical records and handle conflict.
Lillian Tran, an undergraduate student in Exercise and Sport Science who interned with Corvallis Manor and plans to become an occupational therapist, says she lost her “spark” for the profession sometime during her junior year. She began having second thoughts and even put off graduate school. Her internship, she says, “gave me that passion and drive again. It gave me a purpose.” Not only did she learn to navigate the healthcare system, she began to see patients as a whole and to also see the connection between her coursework and a professional life. “Experience is the best teaching tool,” she says.
Lindsay Ross, an undergraduate student in public health who interned with Marquis Companies, did so more than 20 years after high school. He says his internship helped to focus his passion and shape the direction of his career. Toward that end, Lindsay finished his degree in March 2012 and was hired by Marquis mid-April. He says the impact on him and his family has been invaluable.
Steven Cantrell is an undergraduate in Human Development and Family Sciences who interned with both the Benton County Commission on Children and Families and the Benton County Juvenile Department. He says he learned his personal work style and how to work with diverse populations, as well as understand challenges facing youth and how to address them.
Kelly Locey, an alumna of the MPH program, currently serves as the adolescent health promotion program coordinator at the Benton County Health Department and now supervises CPHHS interns. “I had an amazing preceptor who let me learn and grow and make mistakes and become a professional,” she says, adding that she loves continuing her connection to the university and carrying on the message of learning and caring to interns with passion.
Watch students talk about their internships in the videos below.