Elisabeth Burken

Major: Kinesiology and Health
Minor/option/emphasis: KIN-Community and Public Health
Company/Organization: WesleyLife
Company/Organization website: https://www.wesleylife.org/
Destination: Johnston, IA
Timeframe: Spring
Advisor/Coordinator Email: dpower@iastate.edu


My responsibilities on a weekly basis was to create the weekly enewsletter and attend weekly programming at the Network Support Center. This included things like Mission Moments on Mondays, holiday potlucks and fitness activities. I was a member of the Culture Club, which basically planned activities and events for everyone at the Network Support Center. I was responsible for a group of APEX students out of Waukee High School - with this I created a syllabus and project guidelines for their semester long class at their school. I was in charge of planning meetings, creating agendas and checking in with them on a weekly basis. I also created a few fitness programs for the NSC, but this was very minimal. I sat in on almost every meeting Heidi was invited to including a board meeting - which was REALLY interesting. At the Community Nutrition office (I spent one day a week working on community outreach efforts for the community nutrition department) I worked on creating communication pieces for local churches. I was promoting the Meals on Wheels program in any way I could including flyers, bulletin inserts, posters, newsletter bits and putting together presentations. I also was responsible for checking in with both of my supervisors (at both locations) weekly.


In the beginning of my internship, my supervisor asked me to do some research around walk audits, specifically indoor and outdoor walk audits. Instead of taking notes, I just started putting together a packet and designing my own audit. My intention was to just put a few things together and hand it over to my supervisor. But instead, she decided this was going to be my project for the semester - putting together an indoor and outdoor walk audit. The cool thing about this is that an indoor walk audit has not been done yet (and if it has - we haven't found any research/information on it anywhere in the world!!). I ended up creating a 20 page walk audit, specific to all levels of care at the retirement home, indoor and outdoor. I piloted this audit at two of the retirement communities in Iowa. I was asked by the CEO to present my research at a board meeting. I wasn't able to do this before my internship was over, but it was such an honor to even be asked!! This was my greatest accomplishment during this experience.

What advice would you give?

You make your internship what you want it to be. At the beginning of my internship my supervisor had me doing strength and fitness programs. She soon realized that fitness wasn't my specialty and immediately switched gears to wellness programming and employee wellness. Be confident in your skills and knowledge, communicate your strengths and weaknesses to your co-workers and supervisors. Don't be afraid to ask for help! Take the feedback. You may have to make several versions of a document or project before you get positive feedback.

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