This summer, I interned at the GO Project in Brooklyn. There, I was an assistant teacher to underprivileged and underperforming kindergartners. Additionally, I participated in daily social justice conversations with my fellow interns at the program. I saw first hand the importance of early intervention in the education of children who are underperforming. Educational equity is something that is not talked about nearly enough. Too many children of color are disadvantaged by white-favored systems in our public school system. Students of color statistically are much less likely to succeed in school, particularly in early education. This summer, I was proud to say that I did as much as I could to try and close that gap. I worked individually with students, reading with them or solving math problems with them. I especially learned how hard it is to be a teacher, and how much teachers matter to a productive schooling system. Too many teachers are not paid enough for their efforts, and again, this was something I learned about first hand this summer. This summer taught me a lot about myself and my community, and how important early educational equity is for every child to succeed in his or her life.
I went to the Dominican Republic where I first visited a variety of hospitals and clinics which varied in funding and purpose. I then visited the most underprivileged communities and educated those living there on ways they can avoid many diseases such as STDs and diseases transmitted by mosquitos such as dengue and malaria. The most fulfilling experience I had was when I spent a week helping cement the floors of homes. Towards the end of the experience, my group set up a free clinic where we measured babies to make sure they were healthy. We then proceded to give mothers and their children the vitamins they were lacking. This was a very eye-opening experience where I was able to compare their lifestyle to my own.
This summer, I did an internship in the rheumatology department at NYU. During this month-long period, I observed clinical work, filed papers, and shadowed doctors during patient visits in a professional setting. This experience was very new to me – in the previous years I had only participated in volunteer work involving teaching students in a more casual setting. I found great interest in reading about research being done as well as the process of adding patients to certain research projects. Consent was something consistently brought up; it’s something vital to both patient security and comfort. Consent was discussed personally between doctor and patient.
Clinical trials were quite different from one-on-one scheduled patient meetings. The clinic was open for a few hours a day in which patients in a sense “waited” to be seen in the order in which they arrived. The meetings were much shorter – multiple fellows reported information from tests to a more experienced and trained doctor. After a summarization of the condition of the patient, the patient is visited briefly by the experienced doctor to insure that proper medication is assigned. Overall, a very interesting and valuable experience.
At the beginning of the summer, I spent one week participating in a Fellowship program at Robin Hood. Over the course of the week we focused on learning how poverty in and around the New York City area impacts so many people. We had the ability to work closely with, and spend our time at some of the best poverty fighting organizations in New York City. Specifically, we learned about educational differences, hunger issues and work programs. We presented on this issues at the end of the week. It was both an eye opening week and an incredible experience.