Xzavier Killings shares impressions at the midpoint of his internship at St. Luke’s Free Clinic in Spartanburg,SC

Xzavier Killings ’16, the author of this post, is one of four 2014 recipients of a South Carolina Internship Grant provided by Davidson College and The Jolley Foundation.  The purpose of the grant is to allow students to participate in educational internships and to explore living and working in the state of South Carolina.  

Xzavier with Executive Director of the clinic, Patsy Whitney
Xzavier with Executive Director of the clinic, Patsy Whitney

Have you ever imagined what it would be like to intern at a medical clinic? To see a patient in dire need of your help and you have the knowledge and skills to help them? To hear the applaud and admiration of doctors and nurses for doing a good job? Well my experience is nothing like that, but I have been fortunate enough to turn everything I hoped for into reality.

Vital Signs —Before coming to St. Luke’s I knew I wanted to be a doctor,  but I didn’t have much experience in different areas of medicine. One might even blame this lack of experience on my knowing nothing about vital signs. I knew they were important because they had the word “vital” in them, but I thought that understanding them was a complicated process that only doctors and nurses knew how to decode. Luckily, I was wrong. My first patient was an elderly woman who was easy going. I feel that she sensed I was green behind the ears and she helped me through the process.  I learned that patients help healthcare providers just as much, if not more, than healthcare providers help patients. First we measured her blood pressure, it’s important to note that placement of the sleeve is key! After fiddling with what I thought was the right place, I pressed the button on the machine and it started beeping; it worked! Next we conquered the weighing scale which was pretty self-explanatory. The real challenge came with measuring blood sugar. Once I was over the fear of hurting her from the puncture of the needle, I was able to help. With each new patient, I am reinvigorated to record their signs because I feel it is their body’s way of communicating with me.

Free Food – I bet you’re wondering how free food is connected with my experience in health care. (If you’re not then I don’t understand why you don’t.) Well I’ll tell you, every Tuesday and Thursday St. Luke’s holds a night clinic for patients who aren’t able to attend the day clinic. Church volunteers started a tradition to prepare a meal for the doctors and volunteers who work the night clinics because most of them would leave their practices and regular jobs and come straight to St. Luke’s without eating. By providing a meal it showed the doctors that their time and skill were valued and this created a great relationship between doctors and St. Luke’s. Since I started my internship I have worked every Tuesday and Thursday night until closing at the clinic and have constantly been inspired by the compassion and humility of others. I didn’t expect random acts of kindness to go so far but they really make a huge impact. In the night clinic I’ve had the opportunity to shadow dermatologists, family physicians and orthopedists and have had first-hand experience with patient interaction. I really appreciate how these doctors provide excellent care to patients and communicate with them to the point where they leave knowing everything they talked about and their plan of action for the future. I’ve never seen a patient leave confused or still questioning his/her healthcare. However, I have seen a few leave angry and unsatisfied because they didn’t receive the medicine they wanted or because they weren’t prescribed the treatment they wanted…but that’s a story for next time.

The Back Desk – The first day I got to St. Luke’s I was put in a position to sink or swim. I was literally thrown into the action when the nurse placed me at the nurse’s station, aka back desk, and told me my task was to update patient charts after they had seen the doctor, schedule future appointments, and start their referral application to outside offices. I personally like to call the back desk “hub city” because it is the central area of communication throughout the clinic. One day you could see volunteers talking with doctors or the executive director of the clinic chatting with nurses. (Shout out to Patsy Whitney, executive director of St. Luke’s, for helping turn my dreams into a reality by allowing me to intern at St. Luke’s this summer.) My adventures at the back desk include being relocated to the third floor of the clinic to do administrative tasks where I file charts, update patient’s medication into the computer system and update patient’s re-applications. I’ve actually gotten a head start on learning some of the, nearly impossible to pronounce, medicines like amlodipine and omeprazole. My adventures also include being relocated to the front desk to help with patient check-in and patient application reviews. One of my most memorable experiences at the back desk includes meeting a Davidson Alumnus who also volunteers at the clinic; even though we are small in number we make a big impact (#greatdaytobeawildcat). The back desk has brought many great memories and I’m looking forward to those to come in the following weeks! Who would have thought that St. Luke’s had all this in store for me? Until we meet again….

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead


Pre-Med Major Carter Devlin ’13 Gives Business a Try

By Brennan McCormick, Career Services Ambassador

As a pre-med chemistry major, Carter Devlin ’13 has always had an interest in medicine. This past summer, however, he was given an opportunity to explore the business side of the healthcare industry. As a Business Development and Planning intern at Biologics, Inc. Carter was tasked with performing market research and competitor analysis for one of the most specialized drug distribution companies in the world. Carter’s summer culminated in a presentation delivered to the executive team and strategic planning committee meant to showcase his findings over the course of this summer.

“Carter’s experience serves as a reminder that one need not be a doctor to get involved in the healthcare industry.”

For those interested in medicine, but wary of medical school, a position like Carter’s is a great way to break into the healthcare industry.

Carter’s position placed a heavy emphasis on writing, research, and communication skills, all of which are developed by the Davidson curriculum. Carter reported that a position like this is also a valuable learning experience for anyone interested in medicine. By gaining exposure to various drug distribution channels and the clinical trial process, a position in the business side of the healthcare industry arms a Davidson student with the tools to continue in the healthcare industry or break off into a related field such as marketing or consulting.  Carter’s experience serves as a reminder that one need not be a doctor to get involved in the healthcare industry.

Summer Internship at an Auction House

 By Morgan Orangi, Career Services Ambassador

Senior Art History Major Kaitlyn McElwee spent the past summer working in the high intensity offices of Sloans & Kenyon Auctioneers and Appraisers. Sloans & Kenyon is located in Bethesda, MD and contains a consignment store in addition to their auction and exhibition spaces. They specialize in Asian art, but receive and auction items of various styles and media that range from $100-$100,000 in value.  

Kaitlyn found the Sloans & Kenyon internship through a family friend who recommended her to the owner. She had been in search of an auction house internship in order to round out her experience in art history related careers. The previous summer, she had interned in the education department at the Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC and now, while at school, she works in the Van Every Smith Galleries at the Visual Arts Center. Through these experiences she covers the business, museum, academic, and gallery aspects of the art world. Kaitlyn hopes that her various experiences will prepare her for her long-term goal of receiving her doctorate in Art History.

While working at Sloans & Kenyon, Kaitlyn catalogued items, constructed and deconstructed exhibitions, assisted with appraisals, and worked as a telephone bidder. Although she enjoyed all of her responsibilities, Kaitlyn especially appreciated the opportunity to discover new works and learn from items that she wouldn’t necessarily have seen in an art history class. Preparing for the auctions proved very hectic, especially when compared to Kaitlyn’s experience at the Mint, which had focused on developing exhibitions over much longer periods. While she found telephone bidding exhilarating, the work leading up to the auction required long hours and unexpected changes.

Kaitlyn’s art history courses and work in the gallery provided her with the foundation she needed to determine mediums, catalogue items, and organize exhibitions. At Sloans & Kenyon she built on this foundation by learning about the business side of art. She learned what types of items are and aren’t desirable, what qualities to look for in specific types of items, and how to deal with (sometimes crazy) clients.  

After graduation, Kaitlyn hopes to find a job at a gallery in Charlotte where she can spend a couple of years orienting herself in the contemporary art market.

Kaitlyn McElwee is an Art History major who works in the Van Every Smith Galleries and trains her dog in obscure tricks. 

Summer Internship Opens Door to Career Path

By Alexa King, Career Services Ambassador

Joi Spaulding ’14 is an Africana Studies Major, Pre-Medicine from Stamford, Connecticut. She is a Strategies Mentor and member of the Upsilon Mu Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

This past summer Joi Spaulding interned with a non-profit organization called REACH Prep, which prepares highly motivated black and Latino students from low to moderate income families enter independent schools located in Fairfield and Westchester counties, and the Bronx. As an advisor for the “Junior-Girls,” rising 5th graders, her day typically began at 7:45 a.m. with a daily lesson or activity that she prepared, often pertaining to character building.  Proactive and energetic, Joi sought out new tasks and assignments from her advisors, and usually assisted the teachers with science labs and lectures. If any student was struggling with a concept in class, Joi would also provide tutoring for them.

When asked about the most valuable lessons Joi learned through her internship, she alluded to the “art” of working with children. “Regardless of how they behave, you have to give a child a clean slate each day,” Joi said.  In addition, she said that her experience taught her the importance of having a positive impact on children, especially from an early age. She also indicated that she had “no idea how much they looked up to me” and viewed her as a role model. “With children, the little things are really important, whether it’s a fun lesson plan or a basketball game.” They were really enthusiastic about my interest in their success, she said.

This experience was so meaningful to Joi that in the future she wants to work with youth, hopefully in an education or health care related capacity. She found that “it really just takes one person who cares to show a child that she believes in him. That support and care is what can truly make an impact in a child’s life.”

Interning Her Way to Success: Christi Moore ’15

By Damian White, Career Services Ambassador

Christi Moore ’15  is a sophomore at Davidson College who aspires to become a practicing attorney.  This past summer she worked as a Legislative Assistant in the Public Affairs office for the United States Parcel Service (UPS) in Washington, D.C.  As an intern, she attended hearings on Capitol Hill, practiced memo writing, and tackled pertinent social justice issues with senators and congressmen.  Throughout this six-week experience, Christi had the opportunity to not only work with attorneys, but also learn about the UPS Foundation, which engages in community endeavors that closely align with her own personal values.

During our conversation, Christi made a critical distinction between her coursework at Davidson and the hands-on experience that she received during her summer internship experience.  For Christi, the networking opportunities and resources available to her helped to shape her perspective on the legal field in a way that her classes had not done up to this point.  She indicated that the most important things she learned were that “your hard work pays off, and you must always be prepared.”

Mentorship also played a crucial part in Christi’s summer experience.  She noted that her supervisor and mentor, Ms. Nicole Clifton (UPS VP, Public Affairs), had a welcoming and commanding presence both inside and outside of the office.  As her mentee, Christi recognized and resonated with these qualities.  Christi became an integral component of the UPS Public Affairs office; in fact, she has been asked to come back and work with a partnering law firm next summer.

After Davidson, Christi plans to enroll in law school and ultimately aspires to become a Supreme Court Justice.

Brillo Boxes and Campbell Soup: A Summer Experience at the Andy Warhol Museum

By McKenzie Roese, Career Services Ambassador

Claire Ittner '13 and one of the talented artists she met at the Andy Warhol Museum

Interested in art and its history? Looking to do something this summer outside the box that will get you hands-on experience in the art field? If this applies to you at all, then consider interning in the field of art management. It’s an experience that’s made a lasting impression on Claire Ittner ’13.

Being an English and Art History double major, Ittner has always been interested in learning about art culture and developing a better understanding of art and museum management. This past summer, she got the opportunity of a lifetime when she interned at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as their curatorial intern. She worked directly with both the Curator and Director’s office to receive a truly intimate understanding of the inner-workings of organizing and running a museum. While I chatted with her about her internship search, she reflected back stating, “I wanted to get some exposure to the curatorial side of the art world to see if that was a field I wanted to pursue long-term.” Fortunately, the Warhol gallery position provided the needed insight into museum work culture.

Claire poses with another artist and his work at the Warhol Museum

In terms of her day-to-day experience, the Warhol never ceased to keep her on her toes.
Her work would greatly depend on what events were happening at the Warhol at any given time. For her first month she helped prepare for the Warhol’s first-ever off-site exhibition. Reflecting on the experience, Ittner recalls: “I spent a lot of time at the beginning communicating with them, ordering materials for those who were international, checking on framing, etc. I helped with the install as well, which was really cool, because I was working literally next to the artists, handling their work. They were fantastic and explained their process and why it was that they made the piece they did.”

Ittner’s experience provided her with great insight into not only museum work, but also the field of art management – an experience that will help shape her long-term career pursuits in the art world. Plus, she also highlighted “It was quite fun to work with so many young, forward-thinking people!” So if you feel the urge to experience the art world this summer, the Andy Warhol Museum might just be the place for you.

An Unexpected Internship in Marketing

By Paul Van Peursem, Career Services Ambassador 

Accepting a summer internship in Marketing and Business Development at Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP, an accounting firm, felt weird. Since I’m an economics major, should I not be doing an accounting internship? This was the question everyone was asking me. I had no idea what the summer would hold; however, to my surprise, I not only used my economics knowledge, I also expanded my research and networking skills.

When one thinks about marketing, the first thing that comes to mind is consumer products – like popular drinks, food products, clothing lines. So how does marketing accounting services compare?

There are many similarities – like market research, analyzing data or trends and creating marketing materials. However, because this is a largely services-focused industry, the marketing department is primarily business development. So the main goal is expanding  clientele, which meant I did lots of research on how best to expand the geographical footprint and figuring out what service-line expansion would attract more business.

Business development also entails networking and lots of professional interaction. So, besides getting to produce reports and research, I had the opportunity to get face-to-face time with tax and marketing professionals. Even during the research process, I interacted with professionals within the firm – including the strategic planning committee, which used several of my reports. The job also allowed me to start out really general and help with marketing within several industries. However, I learned that after you’ve found your niche, you can choose a specific area of interest and really become invested in that sector and working with the clients in it.

What did I learn from this unexpected internship? If you ever hope to run your own business or hold a high-up position within a company, you’re going to need strong business development skills – i.e. the ability to sell your company and its services. Also, you can build a wide array of skills – research, quantitative analysis, communication, presentation, and networking. All this to say that, marketing internships can provide extremely relevant experience for those looking to enter the business world.

Paul’s internship with Dixon Hughes Goodman was made available through Davidson’s 100 Internship Challenge.  

Interning With Guideposts

 By Paul Van Peursem, Career Services Ambassador
Elise Breda ’13 is an Economics Major who interned in the Consumer Marketing Dept. at Guideposts Magazine in New York City this past summer.  Elise took time out to talk with Paul Van Peursem ’13, Career Services Ambassador, about her experience.

Where did you intern this summer?
My summer internship was at Guideposts, a non-profit organization that publishes magazines such as Guideposts and an assortment of Christian books and devotionals. Guideposts was founded by Norman Vincent Peale in 1945 to encourage and uplift soldiers returning from the war. The organization’s purpose is reflected in its motto: “America’s Source of Inspiration.”

What sort of work were you doing at Guideposts?
As a Consumer Insights intern, I worked in Consumer Marketing with the marketing and editorial teams whose goal was to improve the company’s understanding of its target market and consumers. This group focuses on gaining a clear picture of the consumer’s decision-making process in order to deliver and position goods more efficiently and more competitively.

Can you describe the particular work you did at Guideposts?
My main project was designing a survey to collect consumer feedback on Guideposts’ newest devotional book. This involved creating a direct-to-consumer digital survey, and using social media platforms to select consumers to receive and review the marketing materials and devotional.

I compiled and analyzed all of the data and feedback from the surveys, looking for consumer trends in product preferences, expectations and responses. My findings were presented to the marketing and editorial teams in a product report, along with my recommendations for future development and positioning of the devotional.

Can you tell me about where you lived and worked in New York City?
This summer I lived in The Village in NYU student housing. The location could not have been more ideal — minutes from shopping in SoHo, walking the Highline in Chelsea, or kayaking along the Hudson River. I worked four days a week in the 34th Street Guideposts office (right beside the Empire State building) and commuted one day a week to the Danbury, CT office. The view from the 21st floor was spectacular. New York City certainly has a piece of my heart.

How has this experience impacted your job searching in the future?
I realized my passion for Behavioral Economics and fell in love with the blend of social science and mathematic foundation that was used in data analytics and consumer research. Moving forward, a big-city atmosphere is my first choice for living in — with any luck New York City will be my next home. After my internship experience, I feel confident and enthusiastic about my plans for the future; all thanks to Guideposts!