PRCHN Summer Interns In their Own Words

The PRCHN’s 15 undergraduate and graduate student summer interns have spent the summer conducting food retail audits, developing toolkits, and coordinating community outreach events. Learn more about these students and their work below. 

Intern Julia Armitage My name is Julia Armitage, and I’m a rising junior at Brown University studying Public Health. This summer I have worked on the foodNEST project. The majority of my work has involved auditing food retail stores in the Hough and Buckeye-Shaker neighborhoods in order to study trends on food retail access/options. Being involved in research for the first time has been exciting and has given me greater appreciation about the processes involved in conducting research. I’ve also enjoyed learning how to productively interact with store owners and customers and making small connections with fellow Clevelanders.  
 Intern Madeline CasteleI’m Madeline Castele, and this upcoming fall I will begin the Masters in Public Health program at Cleveland State University. This summer I’ve been assisting on the Ohio Nutrition Incentive Project (OH-NIP), specifically working with customer data coming from Ohio farmers’ markets. This involves a lot of collection, analysis, and presenting of data. Through OH-NIP I learned about the functionality of the SNAP program and how today’s policy affects individuals. It also allowed me to travel to other Ohio locations and interact with customers and gather their input and excitement about our research, which was a really valuable experience.
 Intern Nellie DephtereosMy name is Nellie Dephtereos, and I am a rising senior at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania. I am a public health major with a minor in exercise science. This summer I have been working on the Neighborhood Environmental Assessment Project (NEAP). My biggest take away from this internship was having the privilege to experience Cleveland and its diversity. I am grateful to be a part of such an ambitious group of interns and other faculty members to help Cleveland communities.
 Intern Courtney DudleyHello, I’m Courtney Dudley. I attend Ohio University and will be a junior in fall 2018. I’m a Biological Sciences major with a Community and Public Health minor, and I spent my summer as an intern with the REACH team. I’ve gotten the opportunity to visit corner stores around Cuyahoga County and serve at outreach events within the community. As our grant ends soon, I’ve had the privilege to help create a toolkit from years of hard work and research designed for our Shared Use initiative. We support and provide resources to resident leaders so they can engage and invest within their own community to help sustain healthy eating and active living. I’m truly grateful for the experience I’ve had during this internship, and I’ve learned so much about the importance of community involvement.
 Intern Julia GaspareMy name is Julia Gaspare-Pruchnicki, and I will be a senior at Case Western in the fall. I’m studying medical anthropology in addition to being pre-med. This summer I have been a part of the NEAP project, auditing all food retail locations in Cleveland. I have learned a lot this summer, including the idea that local food landscapes have become more like “food swamps” than “food deserts.” This internship has given me experience in all parts of the Cleveland community and has made me more aware of how food availability and even tobacco prices affect people’s everyday lives. I hope to use all the experience I have gained in my future career as a healthcare provider and to be better able to advocate for my patients.
 Intern Joseph HnathMy name is Joseph Hnath, and I’m finishing up my senior year of undergrad and beginning my MPH this fall at CWRU. I’m working on the NEAP Project this summer at the PRCHN where the majority of my time has been spent out in the various neighborhoods of Cleveland collecting food retail audit data, like the availability of fresh produce and prices of tobacco products. The biggest takeaway has been interacting with members of the community and hearing their thoughts on the state of the food retail environment, particularly how it affects their own day-to-day experiences.
 Intern Hannah JohnsonMy name is Hannah Johnson, and I am currently working on the NEAP food retail project this summer at the PRCHN. I recently completed the MPH program at CWRU with a focus on health policy and management. Perhaps my biggest takeaway from this experience will be having to suppress the urge to check milk and tobacco pricing in every store I enter!  
 Intern Samantha KeltsMy name is Samantha Kelts, and I attend Case Western Reserve University. I will be a junior in fall 2018 with a double major in Nursing and Medical Anthropology. The project that I worked on this summer was foodNEST, where my partner Julia and I looked at healthy food availability in Cleveland food stores. My biggest takeaway from this internship is that food environments can change dramatically between neighborhoods, greatly reflecting social and economic conditions. 
 Intern Emily LeungMy name is Emily Leung, and I recently graduated from Case Western Reserve University, where I studied business management and psychology. I received a Fulbright grant to teach English in Malaysia in 2019. Upon my return, I hope to earn my MPH with the eventual goal of pursuing a PhD. This summer, I am working on the REACH initiative where I am focusing on creating a healthy food retail toolkit that will be accessible to the public. My main takeaway from my internship experience is that public health issues are systematic and certainly affect every facet of daily living. While there are common challenges that individuals face, these problems vary based on cultural differences. Overall, with partners and stakeholders on board, we can enact change and empower the community to live healthier lifestyles.
 Intern Meagan MitchellMy name is Meagan Mitchell. I will be a sophomore in fall 2017 at American University in Washington, DC, where I am majoring in Neuroscience with a minor in Public Health. This summer, I have been working on the Neighborhood Environmental Assessment Program (NEAP) looking at the food retail environment in Cleveland’s many neighborhoods. My biggest takeaway from this internship experience is gaining a greater appreciation for all of Cleveland’s neighborhoods and understanding of how disparities in food access affect all aspects of people’s lives. 
 Intern Kenya MoyersMy name is Kenya Moyers. I am a rising second year MPH student, specializing in Epidemiology, at The Ohio State University. I have returned this summer to continue working on the Breathe Free project. My intern experience this summer has allowed me to apply and enhance the data analysis skills that I have obtained through my graduate coursework.
 Intern Morgan ParkerMy name is Morgan Parker, and I am a rising sophomore at Tufts University studying Public Health. This summer, I had the opportunity to work on the Neighborhood Environmental Assessment Project. Throughout the summer, I’ve learned the importance of including community members in the creation and implementation of projects and of immersing yourself in Cleveland’s neighborhoods. By investing in Cleveland and including its residents in the research process, more comprehensive plans can be made to fix these pressing public health issues.
 Intern Marija RowaneMy name is Marija Rowane, and I am grateful for the opportunity to intern with the PRCHN Neighborhood Environmental Assessment Project (NEAP) this summer. Every Cleveland neighborhood I explore through NEAP adds more value to my experience, increasing my own awareness of access to healthy produce and health deterrents, as well as my engagement with new faces every day. Now that I recently finished my biology and music degrees at Case Western Reserve University and will start medical school at Ohio University this fall, I will apply this community-based research to better understanding public health challenges that may affect my future patient population.
 Intern Sarah StarrMy name is Sarah Starr, and I’m a rising senior at Case Western Reserve University studying medical anthropology and cognitive science. I’m working this summer on the Neighborhood Environmental Assessment Project (NEAP) to collect all of the data that informs the other wonderful projects happening at the PRCHN. The work is important on its own, but I’ve found the most value in this opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the social landscape in Cleveland. If I want to continue a career in public health, I think it’s vital for me to know and interact with the people I’m trying to help.