Summer internships are a great way for college students to gain professional experience and make connections that can jump start their careers. Alexis, Sponsor-A-Scholar Class of 2013 and a graduate of Northeast High School, experienced the benefits that an internship can provide through an exciting opportunity at Aria Health this past summer through our Career Futures paid internship program. Alexis and other Philadelphia Futures collegians completed 15 paid internships this summer at organizations including Aria, KPMG, Penn Medicine, Lincoln Financial, Drexel University, Stradley Ronon Stevens and Young, and more.
Through her position at Aria, Alexis gained hands-on work experience that enabled her to refine her career goals. A junior at Lafayette College majoring in Psychology, Alexis now hopes to apply the skills she acquired at Aria towards a career as a school psychologist. Alexis shared some insights about her internship experience with us:
What kind of projects did you work on in your internship?
“At Aria Health, I worked closely with the Senior Director of Safety and Security. Our main project was preparing for the Papal visit to Philadelphia. I assisted in organizing the medical services, general operations and logistic committees. I created word documents detailing the duties/responsibilities of each committee. Not only was this a tremendous learning experience, but it gave me a chance to prepare for a once in a lifetime event. I was excited to attend meetings and observe how doctors and chiefs of the hospital interact and communicate. I saw firsthand how much work goes into planning for an event of this magnitude. It included everything from mapping out the potential influx of people at the train stations near the Aria Health campus to extending cafeteria hours for the staff that are staying in-house during the Papal visit. Although I will not be home for the Papal visit, I feel a sense of honor knowing that I was a part of planning for Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia.”
Alexis (right) and fellow Futures Collegian and Aria intern, Quadirah, prepare to observe a surgery.
What is one valuable lesson or skill you learned during your internship this summer?
“My internship at Aria Health has taught me to always be prepared. When my boss arranged for me to meet influential people at Aria Health such as the chief operating officer and chief nursing officer, I researched these people and formulated questions in advance of the meetings. I also prepared for questions that they may ask me, and practiced my responses. There were many instances where staff members asked me about myself and I was glad that I had my 30-second pitch prepared.
Besides that, since I knew that I was planning for the Pope visit, I would keep myself updated on Papal matters on the World Meeting of Families website.”
What did you learn about yourself through your internship experience? Did it strengthen your interest in a particular field or position? Did it help you clarify your goals?
“When I applied for an internship through Career Futures, I thought that I wanted to go into the healthcare field. Although I had changed my mind before the start of summer, I still wanted to be complete the Aria Health internship because I knew I would learn valuable lessons. From being around a variety of professionals to seeing their educational journeys and having my supervisor guide and mentor me throughout my internship, I had a new sense of motivation. It was truly incredible to sit at a table and hear the staff discuss how passionate they are about their career fields. I want to be able to say the same in the future.
I was determined to find a field that was beneficial to others and rewarding for me. Currently, I am studying to become a school psychologist. I came to the conclusion after asking a lot questions to those who I believe are outstanding in their positions. I have learned that I am curious about how people came to be where they are today and I am interested in helping others on their path to college and career success.”
What advice do you have for other students who are interested in pursuing an internship?
“An internship is a great opportunity to explore different career options. Sometimes, you may discover a career field that you are so passionate about, and an internship can either affirm that desire, or lead you in a different direction. It is a great experience and allows you to network with other professionals, examine the office culture, and most importantly, refine your skills.”