Intern name: Matthew Hanowski
Individualized Major: Integrative Health Science
Title: Dental Health Educator
Place of internship: Falls Court Dental Office
How did you find out about the internship and what was the application process like?
My internship was very unique in that I was the one who created the opportunity. I was accepted to a special dental program at the University of Minnesota that required me to do a project in my home community (Little Falls, MN). I combined the U of M project with my CSB/SJU senior capstone project in the form of an internship. I drew up the plans of what I wanted the internship project to look like, and I contacted Falls Court Dental Office in Little Falls, MN to propose my idea. The staff thought the internship was a great idea, and they said they would help me in whatever ways they could to make the internship a success.
What were some of the internship highlights?
The internship as a whole was an awesome experience because I got to do an extensive amount of research in the field in which I will one day be practicing (dentistry), and I learned an incredible amount about the field of dentistry in the process. Also, I really enjoyed being in contact with the dental office and the school in which I attended when I was little; the connections I made were very rewarding.
What was a typical day like? What were some of your major responsibilities?
My internship consisted of a lengthy research process and literature review before I could actually go into the school and deliver my dental health presentation. I put in countless hours researching theories of behavior change trying to find the best way to reach the fourth grade population in which I would present to. Dr. Hubbard, at Falls Court Dental Office, supervised the project and made sure I had the materials that I needed for the presentation (props, toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, etc.) so that I could educate the students on the importance of oral health.
What were some of the challenges of your internship?
One of the biggest challenges was communication with the dental office and the school in which I would be presenting. I was always prompt with my emails and phone calls, but it was difficult when it would take weeks for a response. Also, planning the internship was a lot of work on top of a full course load at CSB/SJU.
What did you learn?
On top of learning so much about dentistry and what goes through the minds of a fourth grader, I learned how to be patient when it came to communicating with the school and the dental office. I also learned that everyone has their own way of communicating, and there may be a better way of getting and giving information than email.
What advice would you give other students interested in internships?
Don't be afraid to create your own opportunities. If there isn't an opening in the field you are interested in, make one. I learned a lot from my internship experience in part because it was so unique. Don't settle for a desk job internship if that isn't what you truly want. There is so much to learn if you have the willingness to learn.