As a medical intern at the Madison County Community Health Center (MCCHC), Ashley Karr is gaining invaluable experience. Karr, a sophomore biology major at Anderson University, has volunteered at MCCHC since the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year and has gained experience most undergraduates only read about.
As a high school student at Whitefield Academy in Louisville, Ky., Karr volunteered at her local hospital on numerous occasions. She claims her experience in high school, as well as the microbiology class she completed last semester, best prepared her for an internship with MCCHC. Dr. Kimberly Lyle-Ippolito, Karr’s advisor for the project and professor of biology, agreed that microbiology was a great assistance to her as she worked with patients. “She did mention a couple of times, ‘Oh, I saw a patient that actually had what we talked about!’” said Lyle-Ippolito. [Photo: Ashley Karr (right) tests the blood pressure of classmate Rachel Salay. Karr conducts this type of task regularly at her internship at the Madison County Community Health Center.]
After successfully interviewing for the position, Karr planned on taking her internship as an independent study, but she approached Lyle-Ippolito about turning the experience into an educational one. Requirements to earn college credit included two papers and a proficiency evaluation. “She had to pass a skills test so that she was actually assessed by the nurse practitioner to ensure that she could do certain medical skills,” said Lyle-Ippolito.
Credit hours are not the only benefit of Karr’s internship. “If you work or volunteer to do this, then you’re right in the nitty-gritty,” said Lyle-Ippolito. “And if you don’t think you ever want to do this again, it’s better that you find out when you’re a sophomore.” The hands-on experiences will allow Karr to tailor her future courses to help answer any specific questions that may arise through her observations.
Karr was recommended for her internship by AU alumna Joanna Tilley, who also volunteered at MCCHC before graduating in 2011. Lyle-Ippolito named networking like this as a huge aid in finding an internship like Karr’s. “It also helps if you’re willing to volunteer and do whatever is necessary,” said Lyle-Ippolito.
Internships are not the only opportunities for AU students. “AU also has summer research programs for undergraduates, and those are good even if you’re not planning on going into research,” said Lyle-Ippolito. “When you read textbooks, you only get a one-line summary of someone’s entire career.” These programs give students an appreciation of what actually goes on in a lab, and it teaches what is required of a professional and allows students to learn how to think logically.
Karr has high hopes for her future after graduation. Her first plan is to complete the physician assistant studies program at the University of Kentucky and then continue on to become a medical missionary in Africa. “I actually went to the Philippines for a month and a half, and it sparked my heart for medical missions,” said Karr.
In fact, Karr’s internship is already preparing her for the mission field. “It’s been a really good experience to witness to people in the Anderson community,” she said. “A lot are suffering from addictions and family problems, and I have the opportunity to witness to them.”
— Marissa Phillips is a junior from Brookville, Ohio, majoring in communication arts. Phillips is an associate with Fifth Street Communications™, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.