Rachel is a public health major that completed a successful internship at the International Rescue Committee (IRC). Rachel shares about developing skills, applying knowledge, and sharing advice for future interns in an interview with the Experiential Learning Center (ELC).

CU Denver student Rachel Tyler

Rachel Tyler
BA Public Health

Can you share what your role and duties were at the IRC?

I was a Health Education Intern and so I met with all the incoming clients, including refugees asylees and special immigrant visa recipients. I would meet with all the families and help them go through a health education class that guided them to the health resources and navigated the health system in the U.S., such as insurance, co-pays, and pharmacies. So, we cover all the basic health information they need and supply them with a health folder that has all that information, interpretations, and medical rights.

What was the highlight of your internship?

The highlight for me was just feeling like I was helping people and even in a small way—just being a small part of the bigger organization. A good example is when I was able to connect a family with WIC benefits who had fallen through the cracks. They missed the registration call, and they wouldn't have known otherwise about WIC and the benefits for their children. So just something as small as that made a huge difference for that family. It felt impactful to be in a position where I could do that and help people.
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How have you applied knowledge from your public health classes?

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I used my strong foundation and knowledge of the health system and how it works in the U.S. Also, from my global health class, learning about cultural competency, having respect for different cultures, and having a better understanding of different determinants of health around the world and how that affects the population of clients that I’m working with has been beneficial. For my final research paper, I was able to use some of the data about the effectiveness of the program. We talk about analyzing effectiveness of different programs and preventative health—which this internship would fall under—in public health a lot.
Two students talking while carrying books

What is your advice for future interns?

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Definitely pursue an internship, it's a really invaluable experience! Be creative and think out of the box. At first, I thought I could only find a governmental public health department position but there's so many areas of public health. You can really be creative and find different organizations than the obvious ones that you would originally think of because there's so many opportunities out there. You just must find them and being willing to take that time to do that, but it's so worth it when you do. I recommend working with the Experiential Learning Center. Even if you don't have an internship set up, talk to your Internship Advisor about the possibility of one. They're there to help.

Internship advising appointments are a great first step for an individualized experience and are highly recommended before applying to internships. Internship Advisors can help you with industry option exploration, resume and cover letter review, interview preparation, understanding the academic or not-for-credit internship programs, and more.