MA Internship Reflections
Emily Lonsdale (MA Student)
When I learned that an internship component was possible in the MA stream for gerontology, I was simply thrilled. Upon completing my undergraduate program in psychology, I quickly realized that student engagement opportunities should not be undervalued. The chance to try out various roles and capacities in a sector you are passionate for is a major asset when navigating today’s job market. Because of the support from the department (and its spectacular graduate advisor), I was able to connect with government organizations who fulfill various supportive roles for seniors in BC and Alberta. With the help of the various folks I reached out to, I clarified which of my interests and skillsets could be best applied in an internship capacity and by some strike of luck I found myself ferrying over to Victoria to start working for the Ministry of Health on the Seniors Services team.
Aside from the good fortune of spending a summer in our province's beautiful capital, I have found myself continually astounded by the learning and professional development opportunities falling into my lap. Not only can I apply the knowledge from my coursework, research and work experience, but on a daily basis I get to work toward something I believe in—ensuring that older adults in our communities continue to be supported in their health and wellness across the lifespan. It’s an extremely exciting time to be working at the Ministry, as numerous political platform points seek to address and improve service provision and continuity for elderly populations and their loved ones. My internship has acted as a front row seat to the intricacies related to systemic change, community consultation, and the challenges posed by a province with such unique communities and regional nuance. Interdisciplinary partnerships and collaboration continue to emerge as crucial components in addressing healthcare system goals, and I am grateful for the diverse nature of our gerontology program in preparing me for such work.
Every day as I bike the regional trail to my office downtown, I am excited by the fact that I am heading to a job where I can discuss and strategize aging care needs with extremely talented co-workers who are equally eager to share ideas as they are to hear them. Across my team I get to interact with hard-working and kind public servants with various educational and professional backgrounds, and I am so thankful for how welcomed and supported they have made me feel. With around a month of internship left, I am looking forward to compiling and disseminating the results of my research and case planning surrounding the upcoming implementation of legislative changes to housing and health services. Overall, I cannot say enough about the benefits I have gained thus far in my internship process, and would highly recommend that anyone wishing to diversify their aging-sector work experience consider the internship as an opportunity to do so. Reaching out to your dream organization can be daunting, but it’s worth the shot—trust me.