By | August 22, 2011 11:22 am

They have researched adolescent medicine and educational technology, imaged laptop computers for new students and even taught an assistant dean the joys of Facebook and Twitter.

Over the summer, the College of Medicine team grew by four summer interns who are hoping their experience will help them better serve their community. The interns include three students from Orange County’s most medically underserved high schools who are working at the college as part of the Professional Opportunities Program for Students (POPS). POPS provides internships, educational and developmental opportunities for at-risk high school students.

The College of Medicine POPS interns are Tishan White, who is entering her senior year at Evans High School, Whitney Dejuste, who just graduated from Oak Ridge High School, and Monique Heyward, who just graduated from Evans. Serving as the students’ medical mentor is Dr. Lisa Barkley, assistant dean of Diversity and Inclusion.

Also interning at the college this summer is Jessica Tojo, an educational technology facilitator at Winter Springs Elementary who will earn her master’s degree in instructional technology next month. Jessica is working with the Planning and Knowledge Management Educational Technology team.

Jessica said her internship experience will help her give guidance to teachers on ways they can better teach students with cutting-edge technology. Jessica works at a school where many students do not have access to computers or the Internet at home so she has an after-school tech club that also gives them digital experiences and inspiration. “With technology, students are more excited and engaged than they are with books and lectures,” she said.

The three high school interns have also been inspired by their medical school experience. “The opportunity to work with Dr. Barkley – Oh my God,” said Whitney with awe. “She’s on Google.”

Whitney plans to attend Hillsborough Community College in the fall to study nursing. Tishan hopes to become an ER nurse. Monique will major in Computer Engineering at Valencia College this fall.

The three high school interns said their internships gave them inspirational experiences in a range of areas, from research to events, communications to clinical skills.

“The internship opened my eyes,” said Tishan. “I really see what I want to do. I look at the doctors and other people here and say, ‘that could be me one day.’ “

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