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Paris Smith

Paris Smith talks about her Applied Practice Experience change

Students in the Master of Public Health program in the College of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Illinois had to adjust their internships—known as Applied Practice Experiences—because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Periodically, we will speak with them about how those changes have affected their summer plans and potentially career paths. Today, we speak with Paris Smith, who worked remotely for Erie Family Health Centers, which is located in Chicago.

Q: How are your experiences different from what you expected?

A: Having to complete projects from home allowed me to express my creativity, however I was not able to collaborate with other staff in a hands-on setting as I would have being in the Erie facility, physically.  

Q: Are you doing something for your APE than what you originally planned?

A: Some of my original projects were not able to happen, such as working with adolescent behavior health group visits, but I was still able to complete some other projects that will be implemented once Erie has more patients coming in person.

Q: Does your APE lead you to think about a different career path?

A: No, it has actually made me explore being in the health education field that focuses on promoting adolescents to being aware of their health.

Q: What happened to your original APE?

A: I am still working with the organization that I interviewed with interviewed with in January

Q: Are you working remotely?

A: Yes.

Q: Has anything been frustrating about your change in APE status?

A: Having the same routine of logging in on for my intern experience and being in the same place has not been as exciting as it would have been interacting with staff and patients everyday.

Q: What are you missing out on because of the pandemic, in terms of working face-to-face with people?

A: I am missing out on networking with people to be able to get more feedback on projects and potential job opportunities to have once I graduate.

Q: What advice do you have for future students who might have disrupted APEs?

A: Do not get discouraged because you can spend this time looking for other internship opportunities that you have been interested in, and even developing a new skill such as typing or making a flyers.

Q: What other ways has COVID-19 affected you? Have you traveled? Have you been able to go home, see family?

A: I have not been able to travel due to COVID-19. I usually spend time seeing family during the summer months and now I have to connect with them through video calls. 

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