Students Return from Internships from HRSA, Cleveland Clinic, and Stark County Health Department Career Ready

Students and alumni, Aspen Fink (left), Sarvesh Nalluri (middle), Marissa Kluk (right), BSPH, ’15, return from summer internships at Stark County Health Department (SCHD), Cleveland Clinic, and the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA ) in Rockville, MD (near Washington D.C.,) respectively with invaluable experience report retired health commissioners turned Public Health Student Ambassadors  William J. Franks, BS ’69, and Matthew A. Stefanak III, from Stark and Mahoning counties.

Aspen Fink enjoyed her internship at the Stark County Health Department noting that it taught her about the diversity Public Health has to offer as well as the difference she can make by promoting health and safety.

“I am excited about the knowledge I gained and look forward to applying it to my classes in the fall.” Said Fink. “Internships really help prepare you for the classroom and for future job opportunities. I think my previous Public Health classes have set me up for this internship as well. I would strongly suggest to any undergrad student that applying for an internship somewhere in their field is a great opportunity to gain experience within the work force for future job planning.”

Fink credits the staff at SCHD for much of her growth.

“The staff were always open to helping me or explaining things to me when I needed it. I will definitely miss working here with them. They have made me feel better about furthering my education in Public Health by giving me a range of activities and projects to work on.”

Fink worked on quite a range of projects. For example: Creating and distributing the Healthy Eating Active Living Survey (HEAL) for child care centers and analyzing the results prior to providing a summary to Live Well Stark County; Creating a Health Department Promotional Brochure; Observing and assisting in clinics for WIC, EPI, KOBA and Environmental Health; assisting with the SCHD educator, grants coordinator, and director with any community health related programs, activities, and duties (such as the Safe Kids Car Seat Check-up); attending site visits at Early Childhood Resource Centers (healthy eating policies); observing and assisting with STD prevention seminar/presentation; PH Accreditation, Converting ICD-9 codes to ICD-10 codes, updating Ohio Healthy Program menus for ECRC;  editing the Safe Sleep Tool Kit; Conducted follow up phone calls for the Crib Distribution Program, and her favorite; promoting education to kindergarteners at Local Elementary Schools about Playground Safety. It brought pure joy to her eyes because children are her passion.

“I am grateful to use the SCHD to help me realize my goal of working with children and making a difference by promoting health and safety, preventing disease, educating and prolonging the life of human beings -- Isn't that what Public Health is all about? I am truly motivated to engage in the future of PH. Next summer I hope to use this knowledge at Nationwide Children's Hospital’s Injury Prevention Center.”

Two other Kent state public health students, Josh Ambrose and Sarvesh Nalluri, BSPH ‘16 interned at the regional operations division of the Cleveland Clinic, assisting with several projects associated with overarching Cleveland Clinic strategic goals including the reduction of blood born pathogen exposures among clinical staff. This bio-statistics-heavy program focused on tracking exposure to blood-born pathogen by department, analyzing route of exposure, and developing strategies to reduce these exposures.

“Using the skills in excel that I learned from bio-statistics, I was able to help move this project towards exposure reduction implementation.” Shared Nalluri, “My experiences in class helped me develop a broad perspective that I brought to my internship at the Cleveland Clinic, thereby allowing me to learn quickly and develop my leadership and critical thinking. I believe that my education and experience with the clinic brought me one step closer to my goal of being a hospital administrator.”

Marissa Kluk, BSPH ‘15, spent her summer interning full-time with the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency administered by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). More specifically, she worked within HRSA's Bureau of Health Workforce in the Division for Policy and Shortage Designation, which focuses on strengthening the health workforce and facilitating access to quality health care for those in medically underserved areas.

“I was welcomed onto HRSA's staff like an employee – this really motivated me!” says Kluk, “Once I became familiar with the Bureau's grant programs/awards, the President's Budget, and the agency's many acronyms, I was able to dive a little deeper into projects.”

Kluk spent much of her time reviewing and revising Reports to Congress, sensitively structuring Congressional inquiries, performing administrative tasks such as data transfer and calendar organization, and assisting with an agency visit to a teaching health center (for graduate medical education) by way of drafting an agenda and corresponding with the center. She was involved in countless meetings and enjoyed a few weekday trips into D.C. to attend hearings regarding HHS policy (witnessed by Secretary Burwell) and a Town Hall meeting at HHS headquarters.

“I feel like I didn't realize how much I absorbed in the classroom until I was a part of a health-related workplace, using research skills and epidemiological analysis on a daily basis. “ reflects Kluk, “Lessons on theories and legal perspectives began to click into place once applied in real life. Through studying the many concentrations of public health at Kent State, it became apparent that this degree could run through many different career paths. This internship offered a federal/political perspective of public health's social-ecological impact and, whether or not I end up working at this level, I will take what I have learned with me for future endeavors.”

During Fall Semester 2015, Stefanak is on campus the first and fourth Wednesdays and Thursdays of the month in the afternoon.  He takes appointments on Wednesdays and walk-ins on Thursdays.  Franks’ hours for both fall and spring semesters are Thursdays from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and he welcomes walks-ins when not with a student having a scheduled appointment.  He also accommodates student schedules by meeting for coffee off campus during evenings and Saturdays.  Students may call Grace Battaglia-Hoffman at (330) 672-8763 to schedule an appointment with either ambassador. 


POSTED: Thursday, September 24, 2015 - 3:40pm
UPDATED: Thursday, February 20, 2020 - 1:54pm