Promoting Food Allergy Awareness and Education

Chloe Zapata
Emphasis Area
Public Health

Chloe Zapata developed her communication skills and tapped into her creativity conducting outreach to local businesses and schools in a public health internship.

How did you get your internship?

I secured my internship through a proactive approach by navigating the Internship Opportunity Hub resource for Public & Applied Humanities students. Aware of the significance of gaining hands-on experience, I diligently scoured the available postings and stumbled upon a promising opportunity for an internship with a focus on public health. Intrigued by the alignment of the position with my academic and professional aspirations, I promptly applied by submitting a tailored resume and cover letter, emphasizing my passion for public health initiatives and relevant skills.

Why did you choose this internship?

The decision to pursue this internship stemmed from an alignment of my career aspirations with the nature of the opportunity it presented. Being passionate about public health (which is my emphasis in the Applied Humanities major), I sought an internship that would immerse me in the real-world dynamics of the field, providing hands-on experience and practical insights. This internship not only promised exposure to the intricacies of public health but also offered a chance to actively contribute to meaningful initiatives. By choosing this internship, I aimed not only to further my career goals but also to make a personal impact on the well-being of individuals.

What kind of work did you do throughout your internship experience?

In the first semester of my internship, my responsibilities were diverse and encompassed a range of activities aimed at fostering community engagement and promoting food allergy awareness. A significant portion of my role involved conducting weekly cold calls to schools within the surrounding Tucson districts. Additionally, I took an innovative approach by leveraging social media platforms to reach out to local restaurants. I initiated conversations with restaurant owners and managers through direct messaging on various social media channels to do outreach on the importance of catering to individuals with food allergies. Furthermore, a creative aspect of my role involved curating informative Instagram posts centered around food allergy awareness.

During the second semester of my internship, my responsibilities expanded as I was promoted to the role of Lead Outreach Intern. This new position involved more leadership and organizational duties such as creating interns' schedules and assisting in hosting weekly meetings. While my focus remained on community engagement and food allergy awareness as it did in the first semester, I also gained valuable experience in leadership and team management.

What skills did you develop and strengthen in this internship?

Throughout my internship, I had the opportunity to acquire and hone a diverse set of knowledge and transferable skills. Cold-calling schools in the Tucson districts not only improved my communication and interpersonal skills but also deepened my understanding of effective outreach strategies in an educational context. Engaging with local restaurants through social media required a nuanced approach to communication and relationship-building. Curating informative Instagram posts for food allergy awareness strengthened my proficiency in social media management, a skill with broad applicability in today's digital age.

What was your favorite part of your internship?

Undoubtedly, the most gratifying aspect of my internship experience was the genuine sense of camaraderie and support fostered within the organizational environment. Working alongside a dedicated and collaborative team made every day enjoyable and fulfilling. The internship team, mentors, and supervisors consistently went above and beyond to create a positive and inclusive atmosphere where I felt not only respected but also genuinely cared for. The sense of teamwork and mutual respect cultivated an environment where ideas were shared freely, and collaboration thrived. This collaborative spirit not only enriched the overall work experience but also contributed to the success of our outreach initiatives.

What is the impact of your internship experience?

First and foremost, the practical exposure to real-world public health challenges has deepened my understanding of the field and equipped me with valuable insights that extend beyond academic knowledge. Beyond skill development, the impact of my internship extends to the broader community. By actively reaching out to schools and restaurants, I contributed to fostering a more inclusive environment for individuals with food allergies. This experience has served as a stepping stone toward my professional goals while simultaneously making a meaningful difference in the lives of those affected by food allergies in the local community.

How has your internship experience influenced your plans for your future?

My internship experience has had a profound impact on my future plans. Not only did it deepen my passion for public health and community outreach, but it also provided me with practical skills and leadership opportunities. As I graduate in 2024, I am committed to continuing my engagement with the Kyah Rayne Foundation and pursuing a career dedicated to making a positive impact in public health initiatives. This internship has not only shaped my career trajectory but has also instilled in me a sense of belonging and purpose within the organization's community.

What advice do you have for other students as they complete a two-semester internship?

My advice for students undertaking a two-semester internship is to remain proactive and adaptable. Use the first semester to familiarize yourself with the organization and its goals, and don't hesitate to take on new challenges and opportunities for growth. Additionally, building strong relationships with colleagues and supervisors can enhance your overall experience and open doors for future opportunities within the organization.