Having just gotten back to school, I want to tell you about how I spent my summer.
I took part in the Montgomery County DHHS Internship right here on the USG campus. It was set up to stress interdisciplinary cooperation between many different fields. Represented were students from many degree programs including Social Work, Criminal Justice, Nursing, and Psychology. Including me with my Pharmacy school track, we were a well rounded group. Throughout the internship, we discussed problems and issues regarding patients and clients. We talked about the role of the Department of Health and Human Services in Montgomery County. Finally, we toured various facilities around the county, both public and private, that served underprivileged, in-need, and high risk populations.
Site visits were filled with apprehension, heartache, and even hope. We witnessed the bunk-beds lined up at the Avery Road men’s homeless shelter, some beds with occupants trying to get some rest. At Treehouse, we listened to stories of children who came through their doors having been verbally, physically, or sexually abused. We observed the positive attitudes of men and women at the Pre-Release center who were close to finishing their time in the correctional system and were now trying to gain skills they could use to rebuild their lives.
The most jarring site visit we took was to the Seven Locks Correctional Facility. At first glance, it looked like another industrial part of town with the added décor of barbed wire. We relinquished our belongings at the front desk and then huddled into a cramped buffering cell similar to an airlock on a spaceship. The front gate slowly cranked shut, and I was reminded of quotes by Morgan Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption.
There was an uncomfortable walk down a short hallway lined by five women, all handcuffed and looking pissed off, waiting to be booked. We filed into the adjacent room and a correctional officer began discussing the booking procedure while ten muscular officers stood around the equipment, their jaws squared and their eyes stern. We had stepped into their world and brought it to a halt. I wanted to get out of there.
My Montgomery County DHHS internship was an incredible experience. I absolutely recommend that students apply for next year’s internship. I will carry the experiences I had during the internship for the rest of my life. I made great friends with students from other degree programs and career fields, too. Getting paid for your time was also nice.
So, keep an eye out this spring for emails and fliers for the Montgomery County DHHS Interdisciplinary Internship at Shady Grove.
It’s just another reason why being a student on the USG campus helps build your career prospects.
Also, if you want to get involved and find out more about DHHS, go here.