Please read below for previous intern updates and testimonials!
David Nguyen, Intern for 2007-2008:
My name is Michael Arias, and I am a former MAPS volunteer and Intern Coordinator. I graduated UCLA in 2013, and I now attend the USC Keck School of Medicine for my Master in Public Health Degree. I am also an Army ROTC Cadet with the Trojan Battalion, and a Medical Scribe for the Center of Orthopaedic Specialists, and MAPS is the sole reason I am where I am today.
I started volunteering with MAPS in 2010 and first started gaining the clinical experience that eventually got me into the USC MPH graduate program. Public health programs value clinical experiences just like the type I received with MAPS, where I learned the ins and outs of how hospital professionals work, and the hours I volunteered with MAPS were the defining strength of my USC Keck application. As a public health student, I am learning in the classroom many of the things I learned clinically through MAPS, such as how to limit nosocomial infections. I am still planning on applying to medical school, but being a public health student now is allowing me to see that I can proceed with the public health path and be just as happy, as doing so will allow me to apply everything I have learned from MAPS and enter an exciting hospital or county public health career.
I was also an Intern Coordinator with MAPS, which was another strong reason why I was able to become accepted to Keck. As Intern Coordinator, I trained incoming volunteers, managed any MAPS data/issues/email, and performed other various health management duties. I received a strong letter of recommendation from the MAPS supervisors who I worked closely with, and this letter was critical in my acceptance to Keck. Upon getting accepted to Keck, opportunities opened for me to enter the Army ROTC program, and now I can pursue a public health career with the Army (which can eventually help me become accepted to medical school). Because of my internship with MAPS, doors opened for me which are valuable both now and for the future. Most importantly, the leadership skills I learned from my MAPS supervisors as Intern Coordinator have been applicable to all areas of my life, whether with graduate school or the Army, and leading a group as large as MAPS has given me a strong health care application.
Finally, MAPS was also the main reason I was hired as a Medical Scribe. I work with Scribe America at the Center for Orthopaedic Specialists, in which I get paid to shadow orthopaedic surgeons in a way very similar to MAPS physician shadowing. I first shadowed a physician with MAPS and later as MAPS Intern to set up Neurosurgeon shadowing, and this experience was valuable in my interview for the scribe job. Like the MAPS Physician Shadowing opportunities, scribing involves one-on-one physician shadowing which is looked highly upon for medical school applications. The Center for Orthopaedic Specialists loves to hire UCLA graduates (5 out of our current 6 scribes are UCLA graduates), and our job as scribes involves following 4 different orthopaedic surgeons from room to room to see about 40-50 patients per day, and create their electronic medical records. I can easily anticipate what the doctors are thinking such that I begin to think like a doctor myself, and working with these doctors allows me to have more strong letters of recommendation for the future. Many scribes go on to become accepted to medical school because this experience gives us an edge in knowledge and clinical experience, just like MAPS did for me both as a volunteer and as an Intern.
In short, MAPS was the highlight of my undergraduate career and has opened so many opportunities for me after graduation. Whether I pursue public health or medical school, MAPS is the only reason I have come as far as I have, and I am thankful for MAPS every single day.
Halina Yee, Intern for 2013-2014:
After graduating from UCLA last June and working a bit over the summer, I was scheduled to leave with the Peace Corps to do health education and promotion work in Guinea, West Africa leaving December 2014. As the date approached and the Ebola crisis worsened, the Peace Corps postponed our departure date to at least April of 2015 leaving me with a few months to spare and no job. I decided to take this opportunity to travel the world! I spent two months with just myself and my backpack city hopping across Europe. 9 countries, dozens of cities, and countless new experiences later, I returned home reenergized and excited to explore more of what the world has to offer. I was eventually reassigned with the Peace Corps and still will be doing similar work but in Namibia in the southern part of Africa. Until then I’m working a couple jobs trying to pay back my Europe trip and save up for trips while living in Namibia. A huge part of my success while traveling was due to the skills I learned as an intern- namely how to take initiative and how to organize myself to never lose sight of my goals while working on the details to get there. My work with the Peace Corps will revolve largely around program development, something that I did every day while an intern with MAPS. I’ll be working with peers and authority figures, teaching others to follow procedure, setting up and leading meetings, and influencing the way health is viewed in my community- all tasks that sound very familiar to every intern who has gone through the MAPS program and calming my anticipation for the challenges I will be facing in this next stage.