Internships give UNCP students an inside look at health care


UNC Pembroke student Kristi Sinclair wants to work with cancer patients, and a summer internship through the North Carolina’s Health Careers Access Program (HCAP) at Gibson Cancer Center in Lumberton, N.C., affirmed her career ambitions.


HCAP summer interns - From Left: Lisa M. Walters, Janet M. Campbell, Jessica M. Ortiz, Kristi Sinclair, Ashley M. Locklear, Jacqueline L. Melton, Ashley D. Hunt, Shannon K. Rose, Sylvia T. Johnson, director


“I have always had an interest in oncology,” Sinclair said. “I think it would be rewarding to help people out in this way.”

“After my internship experience, I want to apply for a one-year internship with St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital,” she said.

During her internship, Jacqueline Melton re-evaluated her goal of becoming a family nurse practitioner. In an internship at Pembroke Family Practice, she saw it all.

“I saw everything and never the same thing twice,” Melton said. “There is a real variety in family medicine, and I enjoyed working with all types of people.

Jessica Ortiz, who wants to be a physical therapist, was inspired by her internship at Scotland Hospital Rehabilitation Services of Laurinburg, N.C.

“There are a lot of things physical therapists do that I didn’t know about, like wound care and aquatic therapy,” Ortiz said. “The clinic encouraged me to get involved, and I did.”

Shannon Rose was also inspired by her internship, and she changed her career plans.

“I went in thinking I wanted to be a pediatrician in a hospital setting, but now I know I want to work in a rural clinic with underserved populations,” Rose said. “It’s like doing mission work every day.”

Rose worked in every aspect of a general practice from the office to seeing patients with the doctor. There was one extra benefit.

“I gained confidence,” she said.

This summer, eight UNC Pembroke students were placed throughout Robeson and Scotland counties in internships that gave them firsthand and sometimes hands-on experience with a variety of health careers. The Clinical Health Summer Program (CHSP) is sponsored by the North Carolina Health Careers Access Program (NC-HCAP). 

Intern sites included: Pembroke Family Practice, Pembroke Pediatrics, Southeastern Regional Medical Center in Lumberton, Robeson Family Practice in Red Springs, N.C., Scotland Hospital Rehabilitation Services of Laurinburg, Robeson Health Care Corporation in Lumberton, Julian T. Pierce Clinic in Pembroke and Robeson County Health Department in Lumberton.

Students participating were Janet M. Campbell of Red Springs, Ashley D. Hunt of Lumberton, Ashley M. Locklear of Maxton, N.C., Jacqueline L. Melton of Pembroke, Jessica M. Ortiz of Fayetteville, Shannon K. Rose of Raleigh, N.C., Kristianne N. Sinclair of Laurinburg and Lisa M. Walters of Polkton, N.C.

“The program provides a wonderful opportunity for college students to look at a variety of careers in health care and related fields while earning a salary for seven weeks,” said Sylvia Johnson, UNCP’s 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.”

The Clinical Health Summer Program is one example of how the NC-Health Careers Access Program is helping to increase the number of racial and ethnic minority and/or individuals from economically disadvantaged backgrounds become trained, educated and employed in the health professions.

For more information about the program contact: Sylvia T. Johnson, UNCP’s director, North Carolina HCAP at 910.521.6493 or email