1.Describe two (2) criteria you are (were) looking for in your internship site and what made you select the Internship that you did?
Prior to deciding on an internship site, I decided that I was looking for (1) An educational institution that is open and willing to accept me as an intern, and allows me to participate in all aspects of dental hygiene education (clinical, classroom, administrative). I was also looking for (2) A primary site mentor who can facilitate as much learning and real-life experiences as possible for me. I selected my internship site, Harrisburg Area Community College, because the dental hygiene program director was happy to entertain my request to intern with her, and she went out of her way to receive approval from the college administration. I knew right away that she took me seriously and genuinely wanted to help me with my educational goals.
2. Did you experience both personal and professional growth with your internship? Please explain:
I did indeed experience both personal and professional growth during my internship experience. Personally, I have become a stronger individual because I have improved my ability to introduce myself to new people, explain my purpose and intent for my time at the college, and form bonds with faculty members and dental hygiene students. I am generally a people-person, but I am typically quite nervous in new situations such as this one because I am easily intimidated. I overcame this “fear”, if you will, and dove directly into my internship with as much confidence as possible. Professionally, I have formed and sustained relationships with dental hygiene faculty members including the program director, full-time professors, adjunct clinical faculty members, and clinic receptionists. I showed them respect at all times, and took a genuine interest in their lives, and how they got into the positions they are currently in at the college. I believe that they truly appreciate the care that I have for them.
3. Internships are a give and take situation, please explain:
a) What did you give? I gave my internship site a hard-working and passionate individual who is always ready and willing to learn. I offered to help faculty members at every possible opportunity. Additionally, I gave them my happy personality and my sincerity. I believe that it was clear to the faculty members that I am passionate about working in dental hygiene education, and that I will do anything to help improve my skills in order to accomplish my dreams.
b) What did you receive? I received such a warmth from my primary site mentor. I simply cannot believe how supportive she was throughout my entire experience at the college. She took much of her time out of her busy schedule just to stop and explain exactly what she was doing. Whenever I wanted to observe something in particular, she made sure to find the opportunity for me to do so. I also received a confidence in myself. If I would not have completed this internship, I might not have ever known my potential as an educator. For that, I will be forever grateful.
4. Describe an experience you had during your internship that you did not expect to have, please explain:
I did not expect to have the personal and professional bonds that were formed throughout my internship experience. Honestly, I assumed that the faculty members might “brush me off” in a sense, when my primary site mentor was not around. Instead, they respected me as a student and as a practicing clinical hygienist. In fact, some of the clinical instructors asked me for advice or asked me questions about my personal practice. Many of the faculty members went to dental hygiene school back when I was in grade school, so I was intimidated and thought they might not take me seriously, but I was wrong. I am still very pleasantly surprised by the relationships that I have formed at my internship site.
5. If you could describe your internship in one word, what would that word be? Explain why you chose that word.
Fulfilling. I chose this word to describe my internship because I sincerely am fulfilled with every experience that I had. I was happy every morning of my internship to wake up and go! Similarly, I was sad to leave at the conclusion of each session. I would literally drive home with a big smile on my face because I was so proud and excited each day. I believe that signs such as these speak volumes. I truly hope that one day I will have the opportunity to continue to educate students and create excellent future dental hygienists.
6. Describe one of your personal characteristics that had an impact on your internship and the people you interned with.
I believe that the personal characteristic that had the biggest impact on my internship and the people around me is my enthusiasm. Again, I was consistently excited to learn and participate with all aspects of dental hygiene education. I feel as though the dental hygiene faculty members could sense my enthusiasm, and they embraced it.