Name: Bao Yang
Year at CSB/SJU: Senior
Internship: Health and Wellness Intern, Hmong American Partnership (Jackson Fellows)
How did you find out about the internship and what was the application process like?
I found out about the Jackson Fellows because I knew some of the Jackson alums that went through the fellowship. The application process included a cover letter or letter of interest that answered all of the questions in the guidelines, a resume, an unofficial transcript and two letters of recommendation. After the application deadline, I got offered an interview. When I found out that I got accepted into the Jackson Fellows, I had to research and find a site to do an internship. I found out about the health and wellness intern position through an online research.
What were some of the internship highlights?
Some of the highlights were serving people from my community, who I don't necessarily interact with on a regular basis, and hearing about their stories was very eye opening. I mostly worked with immigrants or refugees; my parents were refugees when they first came to the United States. Being able to help others who are currently in a situation that my family was once in was very heartwarming for me. All of my clients were always very thankful by the end of the appointment or workshop and it made me feel good to be able to do something that was helpful to them despite all of the other things going on in their lives.
What was a typical day like? What were some of your major responsibilities?
The programs that I worked in had very specific grant requirements so I met with my supervisor periodically to come up with a timeline of deadlines that I had to meet for all of the tasks. From Mondays to Wednesday I primarily work with the Breast and Cervical Education Program called "Learn and Live." Each morning, I would check email for any important emails or updates. I would also help my coworker prepare for any upcoming workshops by doing research to update/revise the power point and flyers. I also set up future workshops along with reaching out to other organizations for potential collaborations. I also helped with administrative support by filing papers and creating new folders for clients. Sometimes I had to stop what I was doing and help another coworker who had been overbooked with appointments.
On Thursdays and Fridays, I worked primarily with the MNsure program, which is a program that helps people find affordable healthcare. These days involved walk-in appointments, so we typically got a lot of appointments. I initially met with the clients to input their information in our database; my coworker then met with them to complete their applications.
What were some of the challenges of your internship?
One of the challenges I faced was at times, feeling helpless and not always knowing what resources were available to help clients that were in a tough situation. In these situations, I would try to find other staff who may be able to help them and refer them to that person or organization.
What did you learn?
During this internship I learned a lot of things about myself and my community. Being able to see all of the systematic obstacles that people have to go through every day showed me how much my community still needs help. It has also opened my eyes to other career opportunities and ways that I can help my community. I also learned how to communicate better, especially when there is a language barrier, by asking simple questions and using other resources such as pictures to get my point across.
What advice would you give other students interested in internships?
The Jackson Fellowship is a very unique program that allows you to be in charge of your own experience. You have to be the one that is taking initiative to make sure that you get the most out of your experience. I would encourage students to find what they are most passionate or interested in and research different organizations that have a similar mission to your passion or interest. Also ask advice from former Jackson alums and get help from Career Services and Writing Center.