UNCP student interns get a look at health care jobs


UNC Pembroke’s Clinical Health Summer Program (CHSP) gives aspiring health care professionals a hands-on look at their chosen field.

The summer internship program is part of UNCP’s state-funded North Carolina Health Careers Access Program (NC-HCAP). The program has worked with dozens of future health care professionals over its 41 years.

“HCAP’s mission is to grow health care professionals locally,” said Director Sylvia Johnson. “UNCP and NC-HCAP have been very successful in this endeavor with the help of the local professional community.”

During formal presentations on June 19 that concluded the seven-week internships, this year’s class agreed unanimously they had “awesome” experiences working with area doctors, dentists and hospitals. For most, it was a career confirming experience, and it was a wake-up call for others.

For aspiring dentist Brittany Williams, her internship with dentists at Collins and Lowery in Pembroke was “life changing.”

“I already knew how important oral health is, but I didn’t realize how joyful it can be to see somebody smile because of dentistry,” Williams said. “I did everything from the front office to working with patients. It was great.”

Alexandria Worriax interned with Trinity Urgent Care and Family Practice and “went from insecure to very sure I want to be a physician’s assistant.”
“Once I thought was going to be sick, but I didn’t,” she said. “I wasn’t sure I could work with the elderly, but I found I was really good at it.”

Oscar Henderson III delivered four babies as a paramedic. He thought he wanted to be an obstetrician/gynecologist until this summer.

“I sat in on one procedure and that was it,” he said. But Henderson connected with another part of Lumberton Health Center’s general medical practice - HIV/AIDS patient care.

“This is a group that is discriminated against, by healthcare providers and even by their own families,” he said. “The doctor was compassionate; she smiled and shook their hands.”

Brianna Locklear interned with Southeastern Regional Medical Center’s pharmacy.

“I am not sure if I want to be a pharmacist now,” she said. “It was a great internship, and the part I liked was working with people. I am going to keeping looking (in health care).”

Ashlea Rey wants to be an emergency room nurse. A head-on automobile collision followed by great medical care convinced her. Rey did not intern in an ER, but had an outstanding experience working at Maxton Health Center.

 “I got to see everything at the clinic, and I learned that every job is important,” Rey said. “I had never had any clinical experience, so I learned a lot; I learned it’s complex with a lot of important paperwork.”

The HCAP director said this year’s group of 10 interns was outstanding.

“The goal of the clinical health summer internships is to help make students ready for careers in health care,” Johnson said. “This can’t be accomplished without hosts who volunteer their time and talents. We had a really great group of health professionals as hosts this year.

“An internship is a time for outstanding students to find themselves and their place in health care,” she continued. “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 are the 10 CHSP interns:

  • Francine N. Cummings – from Pembroke, she interned at Robeson Family Practice, Red Springs
  • Oscar Henderson III – from Pembroke, he interned at Lumberton Health Center
  • Brianna N. Locklear – from Pembroke, she interned at Southeastern Regional Medical Center
  • Elizabeth L. Locklear – from Pembroke, she interned at Pembroke Pediatrics
  • Marissa L. Love – from Fairmont, she interned at South Robeson Medical Center
  • Jessica E. Oxendine – from Pembroke, she interned at Julian T. Pierce Health Center
  • Ginger M. Pedersen – from Albuquerque, N.M., she interned at Southeastern Regional Medical Center
  • Ashlea M. Rey – from Pasadena, Md., she interned at Maxton Health Center
  • Brittany L. Williams – from Tar Heel, she interned at Collins & Lowery Dentistry
  • Alexandria J. Worriax – from Pembroke, she interned at Trinity Urgent Care & Family Practice

For more information about NC-HCAP at UNCP, call 910.521.6673 or email hcap@uncp.edu.