Jun 18, 2021
Goodwell, Okla. — Summer for some college students is marked by lazy days of relaxation and fun, but for three Oklahoma Panhandle State University students, while the summer was certainly fun, the days were anything but lazy. Jocelynn Avalos, Karen Rios, and Ami Torres got the opportunity to each experience summer internships of their own after being selected through the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) National Internship Program.
Avalos, a senior business major at Panhandle State, returned to Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) where she had spent an internship during the summer of 2016.
A junior and Pre-medicine major, Karen Rios served as a Spanish Medical Interpreter at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) located in Bethesda, Md. No two days were alike for Rios, as she was basically on call to interpret for any patient that needed it from Pediatrics to Neurology.
As far as her favorite thing, “Honestly all of it. Every day I would wake up and I was genuinely excited and happy to go to work. I loved that I was able to see not only the patient side but also the doctor side. Overall though I had two favorite moments and that was getting to scrub in on a surgery the third day of my internship with full gear and the second was meeting the nation’s smartest neurosurgeons and seeing the tumor my patient had next to his pituitary gland on an MRI scan.”
Rios added, “I learned so much about the human body and all the diseases that exist today. I learned medical terminology in Spanish. However, to me the most important thing I learned was that I can’t imagine doing anything else in my life other than medicine. I always wanted to become a doctor, but this internship made me completely sure of that. Overall the entire experience was life changing and that is something that I will take with me everywhere I go.”
Contributing the opportunity to her involvement at Panhandle State Rios added, “If it weren’t for Panhandle State I would not have been this fortunate to have been able to do this internship. The professors I have had are always invested in my future and genuinely care. I know that I have a family here at Panhandle State.”
Torres, a 2018 Panhandle State graduate, worked at the United States Department of Agriculture in Washington D.C. She worked in the Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement especially with the Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veterans also known as the (2501 Program). Among her main responsibilities, Torres was to provide support for the 2501 program through research reports, marketing strategies, website assessment development, organizational assistance to the 2501 team, create analytic spreadsheets and write summaries from the resumes of eligible candidates for the advisory committees. She also collaborated with the 2501 program to create Symposium- flyer, agenda, and location.
She was able to practice in her field of marketing with her supervisor letting her explore different agencies within USDA. Torres saw first-hand that agriculture is not just farming, but many other programs as well. Through volunteering at Martha’s Table she learned one small act of kindness can go a long way.
As far as future goals, Ami hopes to further her career as an interior designer and will use her marketing skills in that area. She wants to help individuals and the community by designing something that will make them happy.
Teri Mora, Hispanic Student Services Director, commented on the opportunity, “Our membership in HACU has given us many unique opportunities and Panhandle State students have been very successful in securing these highly competitive national internships. We have had eight different internships over the past few years and I look to increase that number in the coming years. We will be hosting an internship application workshop for any interested Hispanic students toward the end of the semester. Applications for summer 2019 will be due on February 15 and are available for any major.”
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