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UNCP students perform health care internships

July 31, 2009

UNC Pembroke’s Health Careers Access Program’s (NC -HCAP) Clinical Health Summer Program is a program for future health professionals to gain experience and examine careers.


Front row left to right: Iner T. Lowery, Chelsey L. Locklear, Cynthia M. Correa, A. Michelle Hammonds, Janneka L. Oxendine.

Back row left to right: Sylvia T. Johnson (director), Jarrod T. Bullard, Melinda C. Locklear, Olivia Z. Bird, Leslie G. Lovette, and Avon T. Banks, III

Ten UNCP students performed six-week internships in a variety of health care settings. In their final reports, delivered June 17-18, they reported many positive experiences.

Working daily with healthcare professionals and their patients is a key feature of the program.

“The best part of the internship was being able to work with a pharmacist to see what his daily job is like,” said Olivia Bird who interned with Walgreen’s.

“The experience on the whole was phenomenal because I got to see what the physician assistants (PAs) actually do,” said Michelle Hammonds, who interned at Pembroke Pediatrics. “It confirmed my interest in this field.

“The Clinical Health Summer Program is a great starting point and gives students the opportunity to explore and expand their horizons,” Hammonds added.

“For me, the best part of the internship was working with patients and being able to interact with them,” said Cynthia Correa, who interned at Robeson Health Care.

Health care is a big field and not everyone is cut out to join the ranks of providers. The internship gives students a look behind the curtain.

“I didn’t have any change of plans for a career, but the program confirmed my doubts about becoming a doctor,” Correa said.

“As far as going to PA school, I have never been more sure than now,” Hammonds said. “However, I am unsure as to whether pediatrics is where I want to be.”
For most of the summer interns the experience confirmed their dreams.

“This experience reassured me that I really want to pursue a career in pharmacy,” said Chelsey Locklear, who interned at Waters Drugs. “It allowed me to see what a pharmacist did, and I loved it!”

HCAP director Sylvia Johnson said the internships are important in the career process.

“The Summer Internship is a time for outstanding students to find themselves and their place in health care,” said Sylvia Johnson, HCAP director. “The students get practical experience, exposure to real-life situations and the opportunity to make valuable contact with health care professionals by which mentor relationships could form.”

Here is a list of participants and their internships:

  • Avon Banks III -  Sophomore biology major from Savannah, Ga., Southeastern Regional Medical Center’s (SRMC) Dr. Arthur J. Robinson Clinic, Lumberton, N.C.;
  • Olivia Bird – Sophomore chemistry major from the Prospect community, Walgreen’s Drug Store, Lumberton, N.C.;
  • Jarrod T. Bullard – Junior biology major (biomedical emphasis) from Pembroke, Robeson Family Practice, Red Springs, N.C.;
  • Cynthia Correa – Sophomore from Raeford, N.C., Robeson Health Care, Lumberton (N.C.) Center;
  • Michelle Hammonds – Junior biology major (biomedical emphasis) from Lumberton, N.C., Pembroke Pediatrics;
  • Chelsey Locklear – Sophomore biology major from the Prospect community, Waters Drug Company, Pembroke;
  • Melinda Locklear – Junior biology major (biomedical emphasis) from Pembroke, Scotland Healthcare Systems, Pembroke Family Practice;
  • Leslie Lovette – Junior biology major from Pembroke, Scotland Health Care Systems, Laurinburg, N.C.;
  • Iner Lowery – Senior chemistry major from Lumberton, N.C., Southeastern Regional Medical Center, Lumberton, N.C.; and
  • Jannaka Oxendine – Junior biology major from Rocky Mount, N.C., Robeson Health Care Corp., Maxton (N.C.) Medical Center.

“I’d like to thank the people and organizations that sponsored our interns,” Johnson said. “They take time out of their day to help future health care professionals.

“HCAP’s mission to grow health care professionals locally,” she continued. “UNCP and HCAP have been very successful in this endeavor with the help of the local professional community.”

For more information about the N.C. Health Careers Access Program at UNCP, please call 910.521.6673 or email