Career Connections

Katelyn Thilges

Major: Kinesiology and Health

Minor/option/emphasis: KIN-Community and Public HealthSecondary minor: Event Management

Year: Senior
Hometown/State: Ames, Ia

Type of experience: Internship
Company/Organization: UIHC-Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center
Company/Organization website:
Title: Student Intern
Destination: Iowa City, IA
Timeframe: 1/4/2016-4/29/2016

Advisor/Coordinator Email:

I was responsible for...
Aid in Sarcoma & Melanoma Research Symposium -Plan & Execute Head & Neck Cancer Research Symposium -Connect with Cancer Survivors for Annual Pink Women’s Athletic Events -Assist with various outreach events such as Survivor Day, Service of Remembrance, etc. -Provide information & resources to patients through patient education sessions, kiosks, and cancer information service desk

I accomplished...
I was able to successfully plan the head and neck cancer research symposium as well as assist with the melanoma and sarcoma symposium. I was able to help with the implementation of the first Advanced Directive Day for staff members.

My most valuable effort...
The project I found to be the most valuable to me was working on the Head and Neck Cancer Research Symposium. It was a project I was able to see through from start to finish. It also allowed me to work with a variety of employees and vendors throughout the entire hospital system. This gave me an opportunity to utilize both the strengths I have with my major and minor which confirmed that I have chosen the right career path for me.

I learned...
The most valuable learning experience I experienced was being able to attend the Iowa Cancer Consortium spring Meeting in Cedar Rapids. There I was able to see what the goals of the Cancer Consortium was for the state of Iowa in addition to seeing what projects were being carried out in order to accomplish these goals. I learned how there is an initial focus to prevent cancer from ever happening and if it does occur to be able to catch it earlier with screening so that the treatment is not as aggressive which can lead to the improvement on the quality of life. Many of the topics speakers were discussing were also taught in the classroom at ISU.

I will never forget...
My most memorable experience was being able to see all of the hard work I had put into the Head and Neck Research Symposium pay off as it ran smoothly for the presenters. I was also able to see many of them discussing during breaks how they believe their research could potentially compliment each other and how there could be a potential collaboration in the future

A surprising discovery...
I was surprised by how well my major and minor blended into together as I was working on projects throughout my internship.

Advice for others...
My advice is to find an internship where you are able to do what you loved the most in the classwork, clubs, or work you were involved in at ISU because you can show you skills that will help guide to a career you are passionate about.

I first learned about this career-building experience from...
I found out about this opportunity through a relative and was able to meet with staff and set up goals they would want for me in an internship

I landed this assignment by...
I chose this assignment after collaborating with cancer center staff and seeing after what goals they would want me to accomplish. I got this internship by reaching out the cancer center staff.

I wanted this experience because...
I wanted to work in a clinical cancer center setting because it encompasses much of what I would like to do in my career. After seeing family and friends have their life altered by cancer, it made me want to become more involved in not only helping patients with resources about cancer but potentially spreading awareness about how to prevent cancer itself.

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