UW Health Internships Create Educational and Professional Opportunities for Students

By hosting a number of different internship programs, UW Health has helped numerous students, at every age, gain hands on knowledge of the health care system. These interns are immersed into different departments where they have identified interest and are equipped with the tools to grow and learn. Highlighted beneath are some internship programs UW Health participated in during 2014:

  • INROADS: Four INROADS interns joined UW Health in the summer of2014. INROADS' mission is to develop and place talented minority youth in business and industry and prepare them for corporate and community leadership.
  • Workforce Development Board's Middle College Internship Program: UW Health hosted five Middle College. The Middle College Program is designed to advance the educational level of young adults by combining high school academics necessary for high school graduation while concurrently taking college courses that align with the student's career pathway of interest.
  • Centro Hispano's Escalera: UW Health hosted two Escalera interns in 2014. The program focuses on college preparation and career awareness for youth in the Madison area.
  • Urban League's Project Reach Internship Program: UW Health welcomed two Project REACH interns. Project REACH helps students begin to develop their post-secondary and career goals in middle school, so that they enter high school prepared for a rigorous pre-college curriculum. The program fosters the connection between academic success and career aspirations through academic tutoring, financial literacy education and college and career exploration.
  • Boys and Girls Club (TOPS/AVID): Four TOPS/AVID interns joined UW Health for the summer of 2014. The AVID/TOPS program offers tutoring, mentorship and paid summer internships for those in the Madison Metropolitan School District. With a double sided approach inside and outside the classroom, the program is molding well rounded leaders.
  • PEOPLE: UW Health hosted five PEOPLE interns. The PEOPLE internship program consists of a six–week residential internship/research experience that offers hands – on experience and exposure to various professional fields through placements with hospitals, media companies and area businesses.

UW Health is proud to partner with these programs and build a new generation of leaders. Below are some outstanding interns and intern supervisors with their perspectives from summer 2014.


Veronica Cox


Department: Human Resources, Compensation and Benefits

Program: INROADS

Age: 18-22


Veronica has some fun with her colleagues.My name is Veronica Cox and I am an INROADS intern working at UW Hospitals and Clinics. I am a senior at the University of Wisconsin – Madison and have spent two summers as an intern at the hospital. I spent my first summer at UW-Health as an intern for the transplant department and it was a great experience.


As a college student pursuing a business degree, I had no idea what I was doing in the Transplant department. I thought all hospital workers were nurses, doctors and others with specific medical degrees. But my internship showed me that I was wrong and there are so many other roles in the hospital that help keep operation running smoothly.


As an intern, I was given a patient experience improvement project. So what did I do? I had the pleasure of shadowing patients during their visits to the Transplant department. I followed them around as they went to get blood drawn, CAT Scans and other testing. I sat with them while they spoke with doctors and nutritionists, social workers, financial advisors and surgeons. And most impactful, I listened to their comments about their hospital experience and their life in general. After spending 2 months shadowing patients and keeping detailed logs about their days, I compiled all the information together to come up with suggested improvements to make patient visits better. Some suggestions were easier to implement than others, but I was able to give the Transplant staff a new perspective on what it is like to be a patient and what steps they can take to improve the experiences.


I know this doesn't sound like a life changing, jaw dropping experience, but honestly, I learned more than I could have ever imagined. My favorite part of the experience was talking with patients. They talked about their diagnosis and their families and really gave me an insight into their personal lives outside of the hospital. This taught me was that patients of the hospital have extraordinary lives and how important it is for the hospital as a whole to help patients as much as we can.


Because of my internship at the hospital, I have changed my outlook on my future career. Seeing how many lives the hospital impacts on a day-to-day basis, I have decided that even though I am not a doctor or a nurse, I can still work meaningfully in health care. My dream career will be in health administration. Without UW Health offering such an impactful and meaningful internship, I would have never known how important working in health care could be.


Hong Trinh


Department: Marketing and Public Affairs, Patient Family Centered Care

Program: INROADS

Age: 18-22


Hong, center, and two other INROADS interns in Chicago for a three-day leadership summit.Hello all. My name is Hong Trinh. I am a third-year business student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I am interning this summer part time in Community Relations and part time with Patient Family Centered Care.


For me, this summer has been a time of tremendous growth and incredible fun. My internship allowed me to harness my passion for helping others and channel that into the community. I had chances to support established partnerships between UW Health and local organizations. I was happy and excited to play even the smallest role.


For example, I remember the fun I had volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club as a UW Health intern. Playing my small role, I organized t-shirts for volunteers and bikers for an upcoming marathon. And while nothing major, I was still excited to be contributing to a bigger mission – being a part of something so much greater than myself, like the Boys and Girls Club's commitment to building success in our youth. I couldn't think of anything better. It has been these opportunities to collaborate with different people and organizations who are progressing Madison, like the Boys and Girls Club and many more, which made my internship so meaningful.


These opportunities have reaffirmed my passion for helping others and my firm belief that we really can impact the course of another person's life. I am also am taking away lessons learned about team work, compassion and friendship, which I will forever cherish. I am eternally grateful to UW Health.


Kariah Davis


Department: Clinical Engineering

Program: INROADS

Age: 18-22


Kariah DavisGreetings! My name is Kariah Davis. I will be a junior at the University of Southern California this fall. My major is electrical engineering with a minor in communication design. Under the direction of Marcus Kelley, I intern in the Clinical Engineering department.


In this department, I have learned a substantial amount about medical equipment and the daily operations of a biomedical technician. After shadowing the techs for ten weeks now, I understand a variety of machinery including Alaris pumps, PC units, surgical light sources and more. I have even restored devices on my own. These pieces of equipment consist of pillow speakers and bladder scanners. Often times with pillow speakers, the wires connecting the speaker come loose, resulting in the absence of sound. When this happens, I am able to open the pendant and solder the wires back to the speaker.


My boss Marcus Kelley has also invited me to join him on a number of his administrative meetings at the American Center. It has been intriguing to see how meetings are run, in addition to the content discussed. Some of the subjects have included new technology for the hospital to enhance patient care and details surrounding the placement of miscellaneous items at the new east side hospital. To be honest, this has been one of my favorite parts of the internship. I've seriously enjoyed attending these meetings. Another great experience here has been analyzing equipment on my own. It's reassuring to know that what I've been learning in school about circuitry and systems is actually applicable to the real world and even at UW Hospital.


This internship also allowed me to chances to step outside my comfort zone. This occurred when I took the initiative to handle a call by myself. Previously, I accompanied other technicians on calls to patient rooms to handle any issues that emerged. However, I never managed a call alone. The request was in response to a faulty pillow speaker. Because I dealt so closely with these devices in our office, I felt confident in my ability to resolve the issue. Nevertheless, I became anxious walking up to the patient room, because I wanted to ensure sure the best patient experience. In the end, my visit was successful and I was able to fix the problem.


I am sincerely appreciative for this internship. Being exposed to so many pieces of equipment and receiving professional experience will truly help me be a successful businesswoman in the coming years. As for my future, I graduate from USC in May of 2016 and desire to pursue a Master's in Business Administration degree.


Kelsey Harker


Department: Surgical Services, Child Life and Child Advocacy

Program: INROADS

Age: 18-22


Kelsey and other presenters at Safety Town. Using replicas of the skull, brain and spine, teachers demonstrate how helmets protect from bike injuries.My internship here at UW Hospital and Clinics has been a very unique experience. Throughout this summer, I've had the chance to experience many different aspects of the hospital, not only in the departments I work in, but also through opportunities with job shadowing and touring different areas. I currently intern in the American Family Children's Hospital on the Surgical Services floor in all three units and with Child Life and with Child Advocacy.


Being in Surgical Services, I have gotten to see how the flow of it all works and how each different area is important to the whole. When I am with Child Advocacy, I got to aid in Safety Town's mission. Safety Town is unique, because we partner with the Madison Police and Fire Department to educate young children about different kinds of safety. During Safety Town, multiple presentations are given. One of the demonstrations includes Bike Safety. Instructors explain why helmets are so important and use molds of a brains, skulls and spines as replicas to show what happens in a real life bike crash. The kids loved having this visual of a how a brain is “protected” by wearing helmets when playing on bikes, scooters, roller blades and much more.


The goal of my internship was not only to gain this wonderful experience, but also to narrow down my post-graduation plans from UW-Madison. Being an INROADS intern has given me opportunities to be shaped into a well-developed leader. Through my experiences, I am slowly making decisions about what I would like to do post-graduation. I love all the experiences I am getting and enjoy being valuable to different areas of the hospital.


Josh Crawford


Department: Human Resources

Program: Middle College

Age: 16-18 years


Josh, second from right, learning about Med Flight facilities and operations.During my summer, I participated in an internship at UW Hospital. Things have been exciting for me and I'm enjoying my experiences working in Human Resources.


My favorite part included working as a Volunteer. As a Volunteer, I was given opportunities to work with patients who have mental illnesses, organize ideas and equipment, watch over and play games with patients, use team work with coworkers and learn about mental illnesses.


Throughout this summer, I have gone through a lot of different emotions. A time that made me excited during this summer was when I found out that I was accepted into the internship. I never thought I would find something I was interested in and I felt happy about every day. I also faced some difficult times and challenges working with patients who have brain disorders. There was an incident when a patient was aggravated with the situation and my presence as a Volunteer. I wasn't sure what to do and I asked a coworker to help me in this situation. As I gain more experience, my comfort level working with patients has increased.


My managers have expected a lot from me this summer and have set high standards for me to meet. This has fostered my growth. Examples of setting high standards are keeping a positive attitude, participating, following directions, coming to work on time, learning about interesting subjects and motivating others.


What drove me into this internship is my participation in Middle College Program. In this program, I have been studying health care at MATC and earning college credits while I am in high school. I am grateful for the program, because it will give me a head start into college. I believe working in this position is an incredible experience for me. UW Hospital inspires me to reach for my goals.


Houachoua Thao


Department: Health Information Management

Program: Middle College

Age: 16-18


Hello, my name is Houachoua Thao and I am an Information Assistant Associate at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics (UWHC). My work takes place mainly in the Information Office, sorting and taking out papers.


Since starting my internship, I have learned that it requires balancing multiple responsibilities all at once. When I'm working, I would have to be careful of what I do and how I set things – like placing files in the right place. I also help track dates so we can throw out outdated papers.


One of my favorite parts of my internship has been taking on new tasks. Although I get nervous and being nervous isn't something I favor, I am willing and excited to learn. For example, when I had to organize and sort out medical records from folds, I was not sure if I was doing it right and that made me nervous. But, because I had someone who helped me in the beginning and helped to audit files, I knew I could do it. Over time I built up more confidence attacking different and new tasks and was told from my supervisor that I was doing my job correctly.


My passion is to become a Pediatric Nurse, or a Labor and Delivery Nurse. I grew up loving to care for babies. I help my brother and sister-in-law baby sit their four amazing kids since the day they were all born. From all my experience and knowledge, I believe I can help provide a safe and healthy environment for children when I become a nurse.


Yessica Xelhua


Department: Neurosciences

Program: Escalero

Age: 16-17


Yessica and other team members at the Adult and Pediatric Neurology Clinic.My summer at UW Hospitals and Clinics has been one of my most fulfilling summers. This experience has helped me grow in many ways and has also helped me decide what career I want to pursue in the future. Having this opportunity has made me realize that being a nurse can be hard, but it can also be a very rewarding profession – like any career it has its hardships and its victories.


I have also learned that being a nurse can be a flexible profession and there are a huge variety of jobs available for nurses. I have met many new people and explored many interesting jobs here within the neurology department. I have had chances to meet medical assistants, nurse practitioners and physicians.


I have also learned about many illnesses that I had no idea existed and have learned about some of the tests done to patients like the EEG (electroencephalogram) and the EMG (electromyogram). Both are used to observe electrical activity with the only difference being that the EEG is used for the brain and the EMG is used for the observation of the electrical activity within the muscles.


One illness that sparked a particular interest in me is Parkinson's disease, a movement disorder caused by the lack of dopamine. Something that inspired me from this experience is seeing how united the hospital staff is. Everyone works very hard to provide the patient with the best care possible.


Something else that I found very fascinating was all the technology used – like software used to check patients in and expensive mannequins used for surgical simulations. I had the chance to see how a probe was used to obtain an ultrasound image of the heart.


Even though this internship has lasted only five weeks, this opportunity has helped me grow as a student as well as an individual. This experience has also had a great influence on my future plans and molding my passions. Learning more about neurology has helped me realize that what I want to do is to help others and be part of a great team just like everyone working at the neurology clinic. I am very thankful for this opportunity and to all the people that made this internship a wonderful learning experience. This has been one of the most inspiring internships I have ever had.


Mayra Puhols


Department: Environmental Services

Program: Project REACH

Age: 14-15


Hello. I am Mayra Puhols and I am currently interning at UW Hospital and Clinics, to be specific at the Environmental Services Lost and Found.


It can be really hectic here. I am working with two ladies who are the hardest workers and are always helping staff members. They are constantly getting phone calls with requests about getting rooms cleaned, repairs, you name it. With so many people walking in and out of the office, it helps me to meet many new people.


The most excited I have been was on my first day meeting my supervisor and the people I work with. At first, I was scared I was going to mess up on something and risk people's jobs. But now, I have the hang of things and know I can be trusted.


The reason I interned was to see what it was like to have a job and just for the experience overall. UW Health is important to me, because my mother also works here. Ever since I was little, I want to be just like my mom – responsible and successful.


One day I want to help my family members who have been deported. Life without them is not the same. I want to help them not worry about job security and keeping them in the county where they can have a better life and help other people who have similar stories. I know this will make my parents proud.


Bridgett Willey


Department: Ultrasound Technologist School

Program: TOPS/AVID Intern Coordinator


Bridget and the three TOPS/AVID interns at the 2014 Boys and Girls Club of Dane County Internship Celebration.I truly understand how essential internships are in teaching students the practical hands on skills necessary to becoming heath care professionals. I also understand how difficult It is for high school students to access job shadowing opportunities, especially in health care, that are essential to discovering whether or not they want to pursue a career that will require months or even years of clinical education. These opportunities are notoriously difficult to get in health care, largely because of laws governing patients' safety and privacy, but which are critical for students before they commit to beginning a lengthy program of study.


This is why, over the past year and a half, I have had the privilege to work with the TOPS/AVID coordinators at the Boys and Girls Club as we launched a new Health Occupations and Professions Exploration program (HOPE). The students who participated in HOPE had the chance to research a list of over 40 different health care careers in addition to doctors and nurses, all of which require some type of dedicated internship experience in order to fulfill the educational requirements. HOPE was designed not only to educate students on career opportunities in health care, but to break down barriers to accessing valuable experiences such as job shadowing and internships.


A natural extension of my involvement with HOPE, I was given the opportunity to help design the UW Hospital and Clinics internship experiences this summer. Korin, Bintou, Megan and Ana, our summer interns participants in HOPE all had the opportunity, for the first time, to work directly with patients and observe medical procedures at the bedside and in various clinical areas, I believe that their internships experiences were a perfect follow up to their participation in HOPE and vital to forming or reinforcing their ideas about the careers they want to pursue. All the interns are pursuing careers which include nursing, occupations therapy, surgeon and pediatrician.


I want to say that it has been absolutely wonderful being a part of their learning experiences this summer and seeing how their growth and education has changed and transformed their thinking.


We at UW Hospital and Clinics are so pleased to be able to participate in and support the summer internship program. We are passionately committed to helping foster and grow health care internship experiences through programs like TOPS/AVID and the careful design of and expansion of other internship opportunities here at the hospital and clinic.