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Student Spotlights

Emily: Public Health

Emily Gamboa was part of the intern team for United Way's South Franklin Community Center here in Provo. Read more about her time building a community garden and uplifting Provo's residents!

What was your internship experience?

As an intern at the South Franklin Community Center I had the opportunity to develop the curriculum for a summer camp that was designed to increase personal and community resilience among residents in the South Franklin neighborhood. My internship gave me a hands on experience in working with youth and minority populations. My role was the Health Program Lead, meaning I was in charge of developing and teaching activities that would increase physical and mental health among the camp participants. In coordination with my fellow interns we were able to build a public community garden at a local park to facilitate physical activity and social interaction.

What was the most useful thing you learned during this experience?

Perhaps the most useful thing I learned during my internship was the fact that public health efforts, even if seemingly small, have the ability to change people’s lives. Even in my short time as an intern at the community center I was able to see the impact of the youth summer program I helped develop and teach. Kids that were withdrawn or uninterested became more social and interactive with the other children; local residents became more receptive to the programs of the community center and became more involved in its programs; and most importantly, the kids increased their own resilience in their efforts to build an environment that facilitated community bonding and belonging.

What professional competencies did you gain from this experience?

In regards to professional skills that I developed I would say that I learned effective project management. Health programs are often complex and require a dynamic group of people to create, implement, and evaluate health initiatives. Though my health program was not incredibly complex, it did teach me how to be a better leader, be proactive without overstepping boundaries, collaborate with non-profits, managers, and coworkers, and finally, transform data into a program that would serve to meet the needs of a community.

How did your school courses prepare you?

My courses prepared me for my internship by giving me the skills needed to develop health programs and run them with efficiency. Additionally, through my coursework I have learned how to work in teams, which in this internship proved invaluable. After all, learning the skills of being a team player and managing a healthy group dynamic is crucial to all aspects of public health.

Emily Gamboa
Emily Gamboa creating the boundaries for the community garden she built with the kids at the summer camp.

Emily Gamboa 2
The finished garden was complete with flowers, stepping stones, a bench, a handmade concrete flower box, two trees, and rock paintings. The kids assisted in all steps of the process.