Whitney Taylor

MPH program, Social & Behavioral Sciences

Summer enrichment program for underserved teens in Boston


Describe the work you’re doing for your practicum.

As a Summer Associate at the Boston Area Health Education Center (BAHEC), I work on the Youth to Health Careers (Y2H) summer enrichment program, which aims to orient underserved teens from the Boston area towards health careers. I assist instructors in their classes, supervise students, design curricula, and deliver a five-week substance abuse class for students.

What are the greatest challenges and successes you’ve had so far?

My greatest challenge has been to find time to revise and design curriculum for the various classes, while supervising the students. My greatest success has been observing the students’ drive and interest for learning, and how much they’re getting out of it. The student dental interns are now teaching their peers about the importance of oral health! We also ran a successful health career expo for students to meet with health professionals.

In what ways do you think your practicum will inform the next steps in your public health career?

Academically, this internship makes me want to learn more about substance abuse since I am currently teaching about it. Professionally, I am particularly interested in health education geared toward teens, and this internship reinforces my desire to either go back into the public schools or work for a wellness or outreach program.



What tips can you offer to practicum students in terms of setting the stage for a successful practicum?

Take the time to find a practicum that you believe will suit your interests. It’s the best way to see if it’s actually something you would like to pursue academically and professionally.

How did you find your practicum placement?

My supervisor spoke to my Teaching Public Health class this past semester about BAHEC. I contacted him after, and pursued the internship until I was offered a position.

What skills have you been able to put to use?

I have previous experience teaching adolescents and designing curriculum, so I have been able to contribute those skills.

What experience have you been able to gain?

I’ve learned a great deal about managing, designing, and running a public health program. I chose this internship because I wanted to see how a teen health education program could be run, and have witnessed how much planning it takes to successfully execute one.

What have you found to be helpful in terms of making the most of your practicum experience?

Check in with your advisor frequently and develop relationships with other staff members.