Career Connections


Veronica Cacciatore

Major: Kinesiology and Health


Minor/option/emphasis: Community and Public Health

Company/Organization: Mercy Children's Hospital and Clinics / Mercy Medical Center
Company/Organization website: http://www.mercydesmoines.org/
Title: Children's Outreach Intern / Wellness Intern
Destination: Des Moines, IA
Timeframe: Spring 2017

Advisor/Coordinator Email: dpower@iastate.edu

I was responsible for...
As the children's outreach intern I was responsible for assisting with the implementation of a childhood obesity prevention grant. This involved leading nutrition lessons and physical activities with children ages 5-13 in several Des Moines area schools through their after-school programs. A public health class for Mercy College nursing students utilized this program as a clinical site, so I was also responsible for supervising one or two nursing students when they visited a school site with me. I attended community collaboration meetings for various children's health coalitions. I researched health topics related to children and wrote monthly health and safety tip sheets for Mercy Children's Hospital and Clinics. Lastly, I helped with the coordination of two community outreach events, including Every Family Rocks and Kids Fest. An unexpected change with my original position occurred about halfway through the internship, so during the second half I continued managing the childhood obesity prevention grant while also gaining experience in the Mercy Wellness Center. As a wellness intern, I was responsible for leading group fitness classes, assisting with several employee health screens, promoting and coordinating Mercy's participation in the Des Moines Corporate Games, and attending a couple health management classes offered by Mercy for community members.

I accomplished...
My greatest accomplishment was successfully managing the childhood obesity prevention grant throughout the last eight weeks of my internship. My original supervisor was no longer immediately available for assistance and guidance, so I was working on this program pretty independently. Luckily, I did have a lot of support from another wellness intern and our supervisor.

I learned...
I learned about the importance of being open to new experiences and maintaining professionalism in the face of unexpected challenges. Sometimes things happen that are out of our control, but we can choose to react positively. This is especially important when working in a professional setting. I also learned that practice makes perfect when it comes to public speaking. This is a skill that I had never been very comfortable with in the past. I improved quite a bit while leading group fitness classes and speaking in front of children every day at our school sites.

Advice for others...
I would say to network as much as possible before and during your internship search. You never know where an opportunity or contact might lead you down the road. Also, don't give up if you don't hear back right away after an interview. Persistence is important when it comes to finding the right internship or job. It often helps to follow up with an organization or company after the interview.

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