Monthly Archives: April 2015

UNHCR Ready, Geneva Bound. -Kayla Bruce

This summer, I am interning with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Geneva, Switzerland. The UNHCR was established in 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. The agency is mandated to lead and coordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country. It also has a mandate to help stateless people (UNHCR). The UNHCR Website provides extensive information on its areas of focus, including emergency response, protection and capacity building. They also put out updates each week on major refugee crises around the world.

As an International Development and Public Health student, I have spent a lot of time learning about the UN system in my coursework and am still in awe that this has materialized. As a freshman, I started talking to a contact in the UNHCR about her job, her perspective on the organization, and any advice she had for pursuing a career in this field. As a sophomore, I started inquiring about potential internship opportunities. Between my relative lack of experience and the fact that I may have started inquiring too late in the year, she told me that there weren’t any open positions that I could fill that summer. I found another great internship opportunity, where I gained valuable experience and expanded both my skill set and my resume. Early this fall, I got in touch with her again. Because I was ahead on credits, I told her that if there was a higher demand for interns in the spring than in the summer, I was available to take the semester off to work with the UNHCR (my alternative to a traditional study abroad). I provided her my updated resume and was able to talk about my interest in a more informed way. After seeing my dedication (or realizing that I wasn’t going to give up and leave her alone) she offered me a position for the summer of 2015.

This is an incredible opportunity for me to learn what it is like to work in a multinational organization. I feel that with three years of undergrad under my belt, I will be able to make a meaningful contribution to this organization. I am excited to get a first hand perspective of how international organizations like the UNHCR actually work. I think this will be a great learning experience for me, particularly in understanding the challenges the UN organizations face from a first hand perspective.

I will primarily work with the Communications and Public Relations department under UNHCR Spokesperson Melissa Fleming, who was recently featured on TED, discussing the Syrian refugee crisis and working towards more transformative refugee interventions. She has done a lot of work in my field of interest, and I am excited to learn more about how she got to where she is today.

I will contribute to daily media monitoring and will be responsible for pulling together a weekly impact report. This report will outline how UNHCR press releases, briefing notes and multimedia were covered in the media and on external platforms. I will also gather input from social media for this analysis. I will do research on current crises that will be used in articles, columns and speeches throughout the summer. The UNHCR is also planning for World Refugee Day on June 20th. Helping to organize this event will be a major part of my role in the beginning of the summer.

Additionally, I hope to shadow in the Public Health department one day a week. While I will not have as active a role as I will in the communications department, I hope to learn more about different roles within public health in the field of disaster response. I have spoken to my supervisor about this and we will have to work out the logistics of this option once I start work in May. I’ll be sure to keep you all posted!

In just three weeks, I’ll be taking off for Geneva. I’m not sure what to expect, but I know this is going to be the learning experience of a lifetime.

International Development Research in Geneva

I’m Angelica Nahalka, a rising sophomore planning to major in Public Health, International Development, and French. I am traveling all the way to Switzerland this summer to be an intern at the International Centre for Migration, Health and Development, a non-profit dedicated to ensuring the health and wellbeing of migrants across the world. Through research, training and policy advocacy, they give governments, UN agencies and any other interested parties the tools they need to improve the welfare of those affected by migration.

I am going to be assisting with the research-based aspect of the ICMHD’s mission. While I don’t have my specific tasks planned out yet, interns at the ICMHD generally conduct research on one of the organization’s many projects all over Europe, Africa and Asia, and attend meetings with its partners. This will be an exciting and invaluable opportunity to experience the work that goes into planning development interventions and what being a development actor might entail.

I will also have the incredible, and undoubtedly instructive experience of living on my own in a foreign country. I have just gotten my living arrangements set up, and will be sharing a room with another 18-to-30 year-old woman in a youth hostel located in the Geneva’s picturesque “old-town” area. I hope to improve my French while I’m in Geneva, and am planning to spend the next few weeks learning some basic German.

In terms of how I got this internship, the message here is that it never hurts to ask. Originally, I wanted to participate in Tulane’s Geneva Summer for Development program, where students also intern for two weeks with the ICMHD. After realizing I wouldn’t be able to afford to go, I asked my Intro to International Development professor, Dr. Colin Crawford, who will be an instructor for the program, if the ICMHD would be willing to take me on as an independent intern. I am thrilled that everything worked out and am ready to develop my research, language and professional skills while I’m in Geneva.

Dâu Xanh and Other Vietnamese Medicine – Kristine Hoang

Growing up as a Vietnamese-American child with a precocious affection for science, I was often uncomfortable with the disparities between western modern medicine and my family’s antiquated home remedies.

When I complained of headaches/menstrual cramps/stomach aches/colds/allergies/general lethargy, adult relatives would prescribe that I rub dâu xanh (literally translated as “green oil”; active ingredients: methanol and methyl salicylate – a natural product of wintergreen plants) on the affected area, or swipe some underneath my nose and breath deeply. It has a refreshing minty aroma, but its health effects are otherwise dubious. Even stranger is the practice of cạo gió (literally translated as “scratching the wind,” but can be referred to as coining), which is often used in Vietnamese households to treat colds, respiratory problems, fevers, and fatigue. A person would rub the oil onto the patient’s back, and then vigorously and repeatedly drag a coin from the base of the patient’s neck to the lower back until prominent red abrasions appear on the skin. The tradition stems from a belief that illness resulted from imbalanced winds within the patient, and coining could release these winds and restore a healthy balance. The rubbing draws blood to the skin’s surface and may stimulate circulation, while the oils may have analgesic properties – explaining some of the relief reported by coining proponents. However, none of that is yet confirmed through scientific research.

This summer, I’m honored to be going to the University Medical Center (UMC) in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to get a closer look at Vietnam’s modern medicine. The hospital is associated with one of the top medical schools in the country, and is regularly used as a teaching clinic for students and foreign physicians. I expect it will be nothing like my home remedy stories. There, I will be granted my first experience with physicians’ day-to-day, in a variety of fields. I will spend approximately a week shadowing a physician in general medicine, internal medicine, emergency, and surgery. I’ll also perform duties such as transporting materials and escorting patients throughout the hospital.

I have volunteered at the Children’s Hospital here in New Orleans before, and once shadowed my pediatrician for a day; but I have never shadowed extensively. The opportunity to learn the real stresses and procedures that physicians experience in their career is invaluable to me in my own career pursuits. I am especially thrilled to be studying medicine outside of the United States because it allows me to learn about health care systems different from the one I grew up in. The chance to spend a summer abroad, of course, is a sweet bonus.

Initially, my goal was to find a summer program in which I could gain an intimate look at medicine in practice abroad. I knew that the experience was one I was sorely lacking. After many hours scouring the Internet and asking around, I found several enticing programs – with hefty fees that I was unwilling to pay. I decided to find a position on my own to avoid overhead costs. I began sending out emails to hospitals in Vietnam, and eventually came into contact with a UMC physician who agreed to help me on my journey. I’m glad that I decided to ask the hospitals directly, as it gave me more control over the structure of my internship. Now, I am dying to finish finals week and begin what promises to be a memorable summer.

I. Allegro – An Introduction to the Symphony by Haley Butler

This summer I will be interning at the Nashville Symphony, the largest performing arts non-profit in Tennessee and led by Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero. Founded in 1945 by Walter Sharp, the Symphony has become a cornerstone in the artistic community of Nashville, a city known for its dedication to music. With 140 performances annually, the Symphony’s concert schedule encompasses a diverse mix of classical, pops, jazz and family programs, along with extensive community outreach efforts.

I graduated from Nashville School of the Arts, a public magnet high school, specializing in orchestral and choral music. During my time at NSA, the Nashville Symphony was crucial to my development as a young classical musician. Their community engagement programs allowed me to attend the symphony on a regular basis, learn about the historical context of the pieces performed, and interact with professional musicians who provided inspiration and helpful insight.

During my summer with the Symphony, I will act as the Education and Community Engagement intern. I will provide support for all of the day-to-day activities of the Education and Community Engagement department, which is responsible for the Symphony’s music education initiatives, children’s concerts, community partnerships, and adult education programs. I will assist in the planning of Young People’s Concerts, design activities for Pied Piper Children’s Concerts, and deliver Instrument Petting Zoo programs to local schools and summer programs. Additionally, I will gain hands-on experience by building new curriculum for the educational programs.

How To Use A Condom

My name is Layla Entrikin, and I’m a sophomore studying public health. I recently re-watched the film Mean Girls, and laughed just as hard as I did the first time at Coach Carr telling students “Don’t have sex – you will get pregnant, and you will die.” It’s these kinds of myths and untruths I hope to help dispel this summer as sexuality educator for the Masakhane Center, in Newark, NJ.

The Masakhane Center aims to provide youth with sex-position education (meaning no shaming, hiding, or flat out lying). Everyone has the right to happy, health sex life. The Center provides workshops and trainings on a variety of topics, ranging from first-time sex to pregnancy options (as well as the more traditional STI & STD prevention).

As a sexuality health educator, I’ll be working with other interns to not only run a workshop series, but to also help create some of the curriculum. We all get to work on a project of our choice for the center, to be determined with my supervisor. For the first couple of weeks, though, I’m doing some intense intern training. I’m excited to see what we have in store.

I found my internship through, randomly enough. I sort of excepted to have to do some kind of finagling with personal connections, but I honestly just read the description and sent in my resume. My supervisor contacted my within 48 hours. We did a phone interview, and it was basically a done deal (to be fair, sex-education is right up my ally).

I hope that this summer I can really hone in on my teaching skills. I’m excited to be able to work with kids of varying ages. I think sexual health education provides individuals with some of the most empowering knowledge. In order to walk in the world with confidence, you need to feel comfortable in your own skin and understand your own body. I really hope to make a positive impact on these kids. I want to give them the tools to understand their wants, needs, and desires – and then to use those tools to make healthy choices.

A Summer in Rwanda with Engineering World Health – Maddy Bishop-Van Horn

My name is Maddy Bishop-Van Horn and I am majoring in Biomedical Engineering (BME) with a minor in Mathematics. I found my internship through a Tulane BME alumni, who came and talked to Tulane’s Biomedical Engineering Society last fall about his experiences working in global healthcare.

Now for the exciting news: This summer, I will be living and working in Rwanda with an organization called Engineering World Health! Engineering World Health (EWH) is a non-profit organization that aims “to inspire, educate, and empower the biomedical engineering community to improve health care delivery in the developing world.” One of the ways EWH is accomplishing this mission is by sending engineering students and young professionals to developing countries to work in hospitals, repairing and installing medical equipment that might otherwise go unused.

On May 30th, I will begin the long, long plane ride to Kigali, Rwanda, where I will be living for the month of June. There, I will be trained in troubleshooting and maintenance of the available medical equipment with the available tools. I will also take language immersion classes in French and Rwanda’s native language, Kinyarwanda.

In July, I will be deployed with one other EWH volunteer to a small village (I don’t know which one yet) to live and work for the remainder of the summer. I will live in a homestay at night and take a public bus to the hospital to work under the supervision of a local biomedical engineering technician. At the hospital, I will have many responsibilities. I will take an inventory of all medical equipment, and then begin working to troubleshoot and repair broken but vital equipment. I will work with the local technician to translate user manuals from English to French and Kinyarwanda. I also hope to talk to doctors and nurses about the kind of equipment they wish they had and what would make their lives easier.

I have a lot of goals for this summer. I hope to make life-long friends. I hope to learn more about global health and where I, as a biomedical engineer, fit. I hope to repair equipment that can save lives, and I hope to challenge my own perspectives.

I am incredibly excited for this summer, and I can’t wait to share my experiences with you. Next post will be from Kigali, Rwanda!

Until then,


Preparing for a Summer with teachNOLA

My name is Hannah Ryan, and I will be a senior this upcoming fall! I am majoring in Public Health, and after graduation will be continuing onto complete my MHA at Tulane’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. I found my internship for this summer at one of Tulane’s Center for Public Service’s Internship Fairs.

This summer I am interning with teachNOLA. teachNOLA is a nonprofit teacher preparation program that “is designed to transform talented professionals into great teachers through practical, classroom-centered coursework, with a sharp focus on core skills.” teachNOLA is dedicated to “training a generation of great teachers who believe that change starts in the classroom.” The main office of teachNOLA is located in downtown New Orleans, but this summer I will be working at different training sites throughout the local area, as well as working in the office.

As an Operations Intern with teachNOLA I will be managing logistics for teaching hiring fairs, as well as developing strategies to collect licensing materials from teachers who have not yet turned them in. I will be following up with teachers about licensing documentation, which will be important to ensure that the teachers are on track to receive their license. One important skill I will be building is proficiency in Excel so I am able to quickly and efficiently communicate with teachers. I will also be helping to manage training/hiring logistics.

This summer, I hope to learn a lot about how a non-profit functions on a day-to-day basis, as well as develop various computer and communication skills. I am really looking forward to working with new people, and learning from every opportunity I take this summer. I am very interested in education, and think the exposure to teachNOLA and how it functions will be insightful into the changing education system.

Until next time,


Asia Bradlee: First Post

The company I will be interning for this summer is Boston Magazine as the digital health editorial intern. Boston Magazine is Boston’s premiere magazine that features a wide array of investigative pieces, narratives, interviews, and expository features. Boston Magazine has been around for more than 40 years and has been named among the three best city magazines more than seven times by the City and Regional Magazine Association. As a city, Boston is a hub of medicine, education, music, restaurants, and finance with a unique and dynamic culture. Boston Magazine’s writers, editors, and designers provide a variety of insights and information into this vibrant city.

My role as an intern will be to write about five clips per week that will be published on the website’s health section. Additionally, I will get one or two printed articles in the magazine. There are two categories in which I’ll be writing, the national health sector and the Boston health sector. This summer is the first time Boston Magazine is launching national stories on their page so I will get to write some articles about health news and information going on throughout the country. On the other hand, I’ll also be writing strictly Boston based articles about different health news in the Boston area.

I found my internship through Boston Magazine’s website and realized that it was the perfect position for what I love to do and combined my passion for writing and health. I then interviewed with the health editor (my boss) and afterwards offered the position.

I’m extremely excited to begin this internship because it is exactly what I love to do. I hope to further my knowledge of writing, especially health writing, and also get to know my own city on a deeper level. I hope to enhance my research skills and communication skills, as contacting people and doing interviews is part of the job requirement. Lastly, I hope to make some strong networking connections and take advantage of every opportunity given to me during my internship.

Welcome to myturn2intern 2015! by Allen Thomas, Assistant Director – Experiential Engagement

Over the course of the summer, readers will have the opportunity to follow 16 Tulane University students as they share their stories about life as an intern. 11 of our blog authors will be located in 7 different cities in the U.S. [Boston (2), Los Angeles, Nashville, New Orleans (2), New York City (2), Seattle, and Washington, D.C. (2)], and 5 will be interning internationally (Rwanda, Switzerland (2), Vietnam, and the Philippines).

If you want to learn about internships from the perspective of a Tulane student then this blog is for you! The wish is that you will find the posts inspiring, encouraging, and full of helpful tips and advice.

Good luck to our blog authors this summer and thank you in advance for sharing your stories!


Allen Thomas, Ph.D., Assistant Director – Experiential Engagement, Center for Engaged Learning and Teaching (CELT)