Julia Embraces Public Health

julia-dimaria-photoName: Julia

Year: Senior

Major(s): Psychology

Minor(s): Global Health

CFS Program: Field Studies in Public Health

Just as one would imagine, entering senior year without having any internship experience in the healthcare industry worried me that I was running out of time to get this so called “exposure” to the field. However, after learning about CFS, I realized I had an ample amount of time as I was able to apply for an internship and at the same time earn credits this Fall! So for those of you freaking out about summer commitments getting in the way of internship opportunities, don’t fret- CFS is here to save you. Not only do you gain credits from participating in this program, you are also enrolled in a once a week lecture that coincides with the field of your work… something I look forward to each week.
I am currently doing two internships, both non-profits in healthcare, one remotely and one in the office three times a week. Having never had any internship experience before, I was so nervous that I would not be able to handle the ‘real world’ and know all the proper medical jargon that comes with the role. But, what I have realized is that as an intern, this is the greatest learning curve you are about to have- and honestly; it is okay to not know everything. Actually, now is the time for us to explore, be curious, ask questions, and do extra research on things that intrigue us. We, the young college student interns, are a work-in-progress, not the finished product. With this realization, came my desire to want to know everyone in my work place’s stories- from where they came from, why they got into this field, and their favorite thing about their jobs. From these little fireside chats with employees of my organizations, I have already created a network of friends that spreads wide across the non-profit world and even extends to other realms of healthcare. It is incredible to hear others’ backgrounds and also be surrounded with people that could be so different from you yet share a similar passion. I have been so grateful to be placed in two incredible internships with people whose values align with my personal values as well as the bigger picture public health values too.
From a non-profit standpoint, I have found my experience very grounding for me to do work solely to help others. I believe we as individuals have an opportunity to make a serious impact on the community around us if we come together and work together. What I have learned is that we are all connected and can learn from each other. Public Health is something that succeeds when you have strong relationships with the people around you. The organizations I work with today would not be operating if it wasn’t for the incredible donors behind us acting as the financial crutch for us to help financially constrained families get what they need to live a healthy life. Both internships I am working with have a very specific focus, which has been rewarding to be a part of, as we can truly dive deep into our programs and see our impact.
This internship experience with CFS has definitely allowed me to broaden my personal perspectives, meet new people and test different roles in the field. Learning and standing alongside professionals who have committed their lives to non-profit work inspires me to want to do the same when I graduate. It is only the beginning however, this experience is certainly reaffirming my desire to pursue a medical career, further explore international medicine and charitable programs, and reinforce my desire to inspire other students to participate in the Chicago Field Studies.