Name: Bethany Rutkowski
Class Year: 2024
Hometown: Elkins Park, Pa.
Internship Organization: Nationalities Service Center
Job Title: Health Access Intern
Location: Philadelphia, Pa.
Award: Bryn Mawr College Internship Fund
What’s happening at your internship? We would love to hear what kind of work you are doing!
I am a health access intern for a nonprofit called Nationalities Service Center (NSC) that provides various supports for immigrants, refugees, and asylees. I am paired with a year-long staff member who is in charge of NSC's partnership with Penn Dental School which offers free dental services to immigrants of all statuses. I help her mainly with setting clients up with dental appointments, reminding clients of upcoming appointments, and occasionally escorting clients to appointments if they need extra help. I am also working with two of the other health access interns to create a transportation manual for clients. This manual will help clients navigate SEPTA in order to get to their various medical appointments easily. We are creating detailed routes for clients from major stations throughout Philadelphia to the major clinics that NSC clients use. On some Tuesdays, I come into NSC’s office with the food access team to pack and distribute food boxes of dry goods and produce to clients who are food insecure.
Why did you apply for this internship?
I applied for this internship because I loved NSC’s mission and wanted to be involved in all the meaningful work they are doing for their clients. I specifically wanted to work on the health access team because I am passionate about public health and well aware of the current gaps in the healthcare system that disadvantage low-income, non-U.S. citizens. I wanted the opportunity to work one-on-one with immigrant and refugee clients to provide them with the support they need. In addition, I wanted experience working in a social work and public health-related field to see if it would be a career path I wanted to pursue in the future.
What has been your favorite part of this internship?
My favorite part of this internship so far is being able to work with my fellow health team members. Through the transportation manual project, Tuesday food packing, and Thursday team meetings, I am able to collaborate with the other interns and staff members to brainstorm new ideas in order to streamline and improve all of the work we are doing. I have been able to share my own ideas and implement them into the work the team is doing which is a rewarding experience.
Working remotely for the first time? What has that experience been like for you?
Working remotely has had its challenges because the work that NSC does is so collaborative. It’s sometimes difficult to work with people when everyone is remote. However, NSC uses Google teams which allows staff and interns at the organization to message each other and set up video calls easily. Personally, I have found it harder to have motivation to get all my work done when I am at home rather than in the office. I have had to adapt to doing work at home in terms of making myself more motivated and less drained by sitting in my room all day.
Visit the Summer Internship Stories page to read more about student internship experiences.