Name: Aida Margarita Ramon
Hometown: Miami, FL
Major: Master of Public Health, Health Promotion and Disease Prevention with a certificate in Maternal and Child Health
Where did you intern: I interned at the World AIDS Museum and Educational Center in Wilton Manors, Florida. I got into my internship because I met Andrew Ruffner, director of Education for the museum, during a World AIDS Day event at FIU. I was interested in the work that they do with priority high schools and sexual health education. I wanted more information on whether they provide education for parents who want to speak to their children about sexual health, and when I found out that they didn’t offer that, I offered my time to help develop more educational programing if they offered me an internship. Ruffner took me up on my offer. I started my internship in early February 2020. I've just completed the 200 hours for my practicum, but I will continue to intern at the museum until early 2021.
What did you do there: I was tasked with developing two new educational workshops—one was for parents, Becoming “Askable”: Talking to Kids about Sexual Health, and the other for people in the health care field, Supporting LGBTQ+ Youth in STI and HIV Prevention. I adopted these workshops from the Adolescent Health Initiative and tailored them for the community. It was important that the workshops be interactive and provide moments of introspection.
What advice do you have for those beginning the internship process? Don’t be afraid to assert yourself and show people what you can do. My preceptor was a great mentor and allowed me to take charge of my projects and other tasks. The World AIDS Museum and Educational Center was not a practicum site when I inquired about interning, but I wanted to work there, and I knew I would be able to do something I had never done but wanted to do.
How did your internship connect back to your coursework? My internship really allowed me to put into practice much of what I learned, specifically when it came to program development and community organizing. I was able to network with people throughout the United States and engage with my community. I learned a lot about the power of capacity building in the community throughout all my courses; and, in developing the new workshops and engaging in community dialogues, I feel I practiced this. It was really fulfilling to create something meaningful and something that the community not only needed but wanted.
What was the coolest thing about your internship or that happened during your internship? Part of my internship was providing sexual health education to high school students in priority communities. I was able to do the museum's InCtrl: Educated Choices presentation on sexual health with serval groups of teenagers who were part of restorative justice diversion programs. Learning to engage them in conversation about having important conversations and consent was really powerful. It only enforced the need for a more comprehensive approach to sexual health as a way of arming students with the tools they need to make the best possible choices about their sexual health.
What did you like most about your experience? I really enjoyed every part of my experience, which is why I will continue interning for at least another half a year. But if I had to choose the one thing I liked most, it would have to be working with and educating the youth on sexual health.
What did you learn about yourself? I am really shy and a big hermit, but for some reason, I do really well speaking in public and explaining things in a way that people can relate to and understand…at least that is what my preceptor has told me. I still don’t see it, but I am my worst critic. Plus, I still have a lot of learning and growing to do.
How did the position increase your professional confidence? This internship definitely increased my professional confidence and expanded my professional network. I’ve been able to connect with organizations that advocate for comprehensive sexual health education and organizations that work with individuals living with HIV. I was even offered an opportunity to work abroad with children living with HIV in my parent’s country, Dominican Republic. I definitely got so much more from this experience than I anticipated, especially considering the pandemic that we are all living through.