Time Sure Does Fly: Midpoint of My DPH Internship

It’s hard to believe that I’m already at the midpoint of my internship with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health! They say time flies when you’re having fun, but I’d like to edit that for my internship experience with the Sexual Assault Prevention and Survivor Services (SAPSS) Unit: time flies when you’re learning something new every day, especially when it’s about a field that encompasses so many of your interests, goals and passions.

The busy city street where you'll find the Massachusetts Department of Public Health
The busy city street where you’ll find the Massachusetts Department of Public Health

When I started my internship, I was looking forward to combining my passion for social justice with my major in Women’s and Gender studies, while also learning more about the field of public health in general, and testing the waters in terms of whether I’m interested in something like this as a career. So far, I definitely feel like I’ve done that. The projects I’ve been working on at the DPH have provided me with chances to learn new, applicable career skills (like proficiency with data analysis software, and team organizing) as well as feel like I am really helping to “make a difference,” in terms of the support that my unit provides to rape crisis centers throughout Massachusetts. The longer I work with SAPSS, the more I see how vitally important that DPH support is to the organizations doing on-the-ground work, and it’s exciting for me to be a part of that. I’ve also had the chance to network with many professionals in the field, through being able to attend conferences, summits and workshops about sexual violence prevention; this was one of my career goals for my summer internship, and it’s been an exhilarating experience so far!

Some inspirational and feminist decor on a filing cabinet near my cubicle!
Some inspirational and feminist decor on a filing cabinet near my cubicle!

I am most proud of the work I’ve done with staffing a Governor’s Council committee, called the Higher Education Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Working Group.  This project requires me to set up conference calls with various committee members, take notes on these calls, as well as compile and distribute a monthly digest and plan for committee meetings.  I’ve really honed my people skills, organizational techniques and leadership ability through this opportunity. Staffing the Governor’s Council committee initially seemed like a daunting challenge, but has proved rewarding in that I am directly helping professionals to create serious change in their communities and beyond. I’ve been able to weigh in on conference calls and conversations not only as a moderator or an intern, but as someone whose opinion on the topic really matters, which is incredibly valuable.  I’ve learned so much from the committee members themselves, as well as my supervisors who have helped me out with many of the technical aspects of the project which seemed especially difficult at first, making my work with the committee my favorite project yet.

Speaking of those supervisors… what I most appreciate about this internship experience so far is how willing my co-workers are to provide opportunities for me to learn new things. Whether that means assigning me a type of task I may never have tackled before, or inviting me along to a meeting about social media and public health, I’m never at a loss for chances at personal growth and professional development. I’m excited for the second half of my internship with the DPH… if it goes as quickly as the first, I’ll be writing my final blog post in no time!

Author: Victoria Jonas

Victoria Jonas is a rising senior at Brandeis University, with majors in Psychology and Women's & Gender Studies. She is an intern with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, in the Sexual Assault Prevention & Survivor Services Unit.

One thought on “Time Sure Does Fly: Midpoint of My DPH Internship”

  1. It sounds like you have been doing some really amazing things! I agree with you that networking is extremely important in this field, and its exciting to learn about all of the conferences and workshops you’ve been able to attend. These will be extremely valuable as you continue on this career path. It’s also so exciting to be so closely involved with the Governor’s Council committee. It sounds like you’ve really learned a lot from this work, and it’s exciting to hear that your opinions and knowledge was heard. I loved reading about your internship!

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