This summer I was presented with the opportunity to become a Kaiser SYEP (Summer Youth Employment program) Intern. At first I was a little skeptical about being an intern for Kaiser due to the fact that the only thing that would pop up in my head when I would hear the company’s name was hospitals and medicine and my field of interest was business. Five days after receiving my acceptance email, I received a phone call from my intended supervisor, telling me how in my application she read that I want to be an entrepreneur, and that she would to set me up with a position where I would be learning some essential skills for a person whose aspiration is to start a company.
As I entered my first week of work, I knew I had to get used to the scent of coffee that overflows the entire building. It took me a while to accommodate to the new environment I had entered. I was put in the Regional Occupational Health Department on the 21st floor where I was provided with my own cubicle, chair, computer, and even a garbage can. Probably the hardest part was dressing business professional every single day. The cubicle in front of me was occupied by a person who wrote RFP’s (Request For Proposals). I was sitting on the border that divided the 21st floor into two separate departments, so it gave me a chance to interact with people who were working on very different tasks than the ones I was assigned.
I was in charge of working with my colleague who sat in front of me. I worked with an internal database. I would extract data in order to run reports on Microsoft Excel. These reports consisted of confidential information to help the company run more effectively. I would report the data to my colleague who would then analyze the report and submit it to higher authority. If I was not running reports, I would work on smaller projects that I was required to complete for the program, like my presentation on a career path of my choice. I worked 8-hour shifts with an hour lunch, Monday through Friday. All my days were quite similar except for Fridays, which were the interns’ educational days.
We interns did many things on our educational days, from mock interviews to resume workshops, and we were provided with the necessary skills to better our understanding of the working life. My personal favorite was attending our mandatory Toastmasters Sessions because we were all adapting the essential skills to be able to provide an effective speech in public. I do have a background in presenting in front of people, but Toastmasters has provided me with a plethora of tools that I can use to be the most effective speaker I can possibly be. I learned how to practice vocal variety, how to breath while speaking, how to incorporate hand gestures, etc. I do believe that the educational workshops that we were provided were very useful, especially for the younger members in the program who still have a couple of high school years left before college.
Overall, I had a great experience with The Kaiser Summer Youth Intern Program and I am grateful for all of the things that Kaiser had to offer me. I now understand how my department is connected to providing healthcare. My department was in charge of consulting business with all the practitioners wanting to come in. They were also in charge of providing worker healthcare for companies. And now I understand the breadth of professional opportunities within the healthcare field. I can now walk away from this summer with a heavier network list, skill set, and more experiences. But even better, thanks to the SRA, I was able to find an internship that I would never have found on my own.
-Jose Iglesias, SRA Class of 2014, UC Santa Cruz