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Cecilia Kattan

I-Health student Cecilia Kattan discusses her internship

Students in the College of Applied Health Sciences have the opportunity to do their internships in a variety of fields. Today, we speak with Cecilia Kattan, a student in the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences program in KCH, about her internship.

Q: Where did you complete your internship and what was your experience?

A: I completed my internship at the Champaign-Urbana Public Health Department in partnership with the maternal & child health department and community nutrition initiatives. My role at my internship was a hybrid of administration and observation. Some examples of projects I completed are: social media management, breastfeeding incentive program with the peer lactation consultant, coordinating with sponsors for the Mommy and Baby Expo, created an employer breastfeeding friendly certification toolkit, and led a grant proposal and presentation for the Carle HealthMaker Lab. I was also given the opportunity to shadow WIC consultations.

Q: How did you apply for the internship?

A: I applied via the C-UPHD internship website, followed by an interview with the director of the department, Valerie Koress.

Q: What did you learn from the internship?

A: I was given insight on how public health departments operate and allocate resources efficiently. In addition, I got an up-close look into the racial disparities experienced in our community and aided in the progression of initiatives to fill those healthcare gaps.

Q: What was your biggest takeaway from the experience?

A: My biggest takeaway was realizing the different levels of organizations that contribute to community health and the discrepancy in funding.

Q: Is this internship closely related to the field you are hoping to work in?

A: My internship gave me valuable experience working in maternal and child health, since women’s health is an interest of mine. As a future Physician Assistant I will be able to understand the value of non-clinical grassroots initiatives. In addition, community service is one of my intrinsic pillars. Therefore, I hope to participate in some of these initiatives in my future career.

Q: Would you like to share any other information that might be helpful for future I-Health students?

A: You get out what you put into your internship. My role was not clearly defined for me since I was the first intern since the arrival of the new director. Hence, I made it a point to do weekly check-ins with my preceptor, Valerie, to ensure I was being helpful. Remember to use your voice and advocate for yourself to ensure you have a valuable experience.

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