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Summer Internships: Wills Kornberg '23

September 1, 2022
headshot of Wills Kornberg

Name: Wills Kornberg
Class Year: 2023
Major: Anthropology
Hometown: Houston, TX

Internship Organization: NYU Langone Health
Job Title: Project Healthcare Volunteer
Location: Bellevue Hospital Emergency Department

What’s happening at your internship? We would love to hear what kind of work you are doing!

I’m spending the summer volunteering in the emergency department (ED) at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. Bellevue is the oldest public hospital in the country with a rich history and a commitment to treating everyone who walks through its doors. Further, being a safety net hospital and a Level 1 trauma center means the people who come in to Bellevue have suffered the most, be it from traumatic accidents or systemic failures.

My job as a patient advocate is to do what I can to make patients’ time in the ED better. I help patients understand what’s next for them – whether it’s a blood draw, an MRI, talking to a doctor, or discharge. I also make patient’s more comfortable by bringing them food, water, and blankets and chatting with them to pass the time. Beyond my duties, I also have the opportunity to observe doctors, nurses, social workers, and support staff doing all sorts of procedures from changing linens, to open-heart surgery.

Bellevue hospital

Why did you apply for this internship?

At Bryn Mawr I have learned about how underserved populations access healthcare in this country through the safety net. Public emergency departments are a big part of this net, acting as primary care for those who have nowhere else to go. This summer I wanted to gain clinical experience as I prepare to pursue a career in medicine, but I wanted to do so in a setting focused on public health–to learn first-hand about the systemic issues I’ve read so much about. Project Healthcare (PHC) represented an amazing opportunity to do just that while getting to make a meaningful difference in people’s experience of the ED.

What is most rewarding about your internship?

The patient interactions I’ve had are the most rewarding parts of this experience. Though HIPAA means I can’t say much, the patient stories I have heard have informed my worldview and will forever guide the way I treat others. Beyond stories, it’s through patient interactions that I’ve seen my own impact. The times when patients have thanked me, or given me a hug because I took the time to listen to them and see what I could do to help have shown me how much of a difference I can make simply by taking time to connect with others.

Wills Kornberg - pregnancy display

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

My favorite part of this internship has been the friends I’ve made at Bellevue. Working in the ED can be intense but in the midst of so much suffering the healthcare professionals bring so much light. From doctors taking time to explain something for my education to PCAs (another hospital staff position) bringing me free ice-cream because they have an extra hand, the professional community has been so kind and welcoming. Plus, I have gotten to know 50 other volunteers who are some of the most hard-working and dedicated people I’ve met and I hope will continue to be part of my life as we continue on similar career paths.

Wills in hospital with fellow volunteers

Visit the Summer Internship Stories page to read more about student internship experiences.