PSU student top pick for medical internship
She was nervous. Then again, who wouldn’t be?
As a 22-year-old from Carl Junction, Mo., applying for an internship at Brooks Rehabilitation Hospital, the nation’s second-largest rehabilitation operation, can be stressful.
“I had a phone interview, and I just did not feel good about it,” said Cara Stewart, a Pittsburg State University senior majoring in Therapeutic Recreation. “The woman on the phone said there were 500 applicants. I told my friends and family that I didn’t think I was going to get it.”
An interview for a different internship went much better, and she was ready to put Brooks out of her mind.
“Then I got a phone call from Brooks telling me that I was the first person to be selected,” Stewart said. “I just started crying on the phone.”
Stewart was one of two applicants chosen for the internship at BRH, which is located in Jacksonville, Fla. The other is a student from Philadelphia. The 15-week experience will begin on May 20 and end on Sept. 2.
Stewart said the educators in PSU's Health, Human Performance and Recreation Department played a vital role in helping her accomplish this dream.
"All of the professors in HHPR are wonderful and will do anything to get you there," she said. "I truly believe that is why I have gotten where I am. I've got to work closely with them and get to know them, and it's been awesome. I couldn't have earned this internship without the faculty here at PSU."
Because she was selected first, Stewart got to choose in which division to work. She chose pediatrics, specializing in brain injury.
“They asked me which area I wanted, and I knew I wanted to work with children,” Stewart said.
Stewart said she is looking forward to working in a real-life, hands-on setting. A trip to Costa Rica last summer gave her a glimpse of that experience, and she’s ready to learn and do more.
“I went to Costa Rica for study abroad, and it wasn’t until then that I definitely knew that this is what I want to do,” she said. “We got to work hands-on with people with disabilities, and it was a wonderful experience. I want to help others improve their quality of life.”
Scoring a major internship is one thing, but to students in the medical field, an internship at Brooks means more than just an educational experience.
“They have 100 percent job placement, and 100 percent of their interns have passed the Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist exam,” Stewart said. “That is why an internship there is so highly coveted.”
It’s also why her selection still seems a bit surreal.
“I still have a hard time believing that I got it,” Stewart said. “It’s not real yet.”