Meet Maddie Shipley, a senior Health Sciences major from Sun Prairie, WI, who is on the Clinical and Applied Sciences Track. In her last year at Drake, Maddie was able to have an internship at Polk County Health Department in Des Moines, IA.
My internship has been at the Polk County Health Department and I’ve been working as part of the Healthy Women Program which provides breast, cervical, and heart health services to under or uninsured women. I’ve been able to do some work with public health promotion by creating breast health awareness promotional materials which have been displayed at the health department, and were distributed at the Race for the Cure. I also have had the unique opportunity to sort and analyze Healthy Women program data from past fiscal years; from basic patient demographic information, to the funding and coverage source which provided enrolled patients with their healthcare services.
All the classes Drake has us take as part of the Health Sciences curriculum have helped me to be a really well-rounded student. I’ve been exposed to so many different aspects of health and medicine, and going into my internship experience, I was confident that I would be able to take what I learned and put it into practice. I always find myself thinking about topics from class and how it connects back to the work I get to do at my site each day.
The logistics of a program like the one I’ve been able to work with can be overwhelming at times when you think about how much work is required before services can even be offered to a patient. But seeing that it’s actually helping people, that it’s getting women connected to these essential services, is incredibly powerful and goes to show that all the work being done behind-the-scenes is having an impact.
Healthy Women does a weekly team meeting, and looking at the enrollment data, and seeing that there are more women enrolled than the previous week, even if it’s just one, is always something I look forward to and really love to see.
All the different classes I’ve been able to take have really helped me to learn concepts and ideas that I had never really considered and have now taken an interest in, like the economics of US Healthcare, how different socio-cultural factors can influence healthcare delivery. There might have been times where classes were difficult, but I never felt as though the material wasn’t something worth learning.
I spent my senior year J-Term in India with seven other students earning a Certificate in Social Medicine from Pravara Institute of Medical Sciences. While there, I was able to do a research study and gain professional experiences that have supplemented my graduate school applications. I’ve also been invited to attend health sciences faculty meetings to provide a student’s perspective on curriculum requirements and the program as a whole.
Don’t be afraid of your advisor, use them! They are also there to help you define professional and academic goals, whether that’s for your time as an undergrad or if you want to apply for graduate or other professional programs. They want to help you in any way they can because they want to see you succeed. And that goes for beyond undergrad. If you decide to pursue a graduate or professional program, it helps to have someone who knows you personally and academically as you go through the process.