My name is Esther and I am a rising Senior at Skidmore! I am currently studying sociology, arts administration, and Spanish at Skidmore, and was seeking an internship where I could engage in all three of these areas while expanding my understanding of each. I have had the incredible opportunity to accomplish this goal through a multifaceted internship with PACE (Programa de Actualización Continua en Emergencias) in the beautiful historic town of San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, México, which I heard about through a friend.
PACE is a social impact focused health organization based in Guanajuato, with three main categories of programming: targeted toward public health advocates, health professionals expanding knowledge of emergency medical processes, and medical professionals interested in Spanish language acquisition. Through their public health programming, they train people basic emergency medical processes, such as how to use a defibrillator and do CPR in emergency situations. They also were responsible for bringing some of the first public-use defibrillators to Latin America! Through their health professional programming, they conduct courses to expand knowledge of cardiac emergencies, obstetrical emergencies, and pediatric emergencies in the health community. Finally, they offer a program for English-speaking medical professionals to learn Spanish in a professional context, to encourage physicians’ direct contact with patients rather than using an interpreter.
One of the most exciting things about this internship is that it is a non-arts nonprofit organization, so I have been able to expand my understanding of nonprofit administration by applying the skills I learned in arts administration classes in a new professional context. One of my favourite projects so far has been working with PACE to develop a database to represent their progress and impact thus far in México. They are currently pursuing new donors, and realized that they need to have easily accessible numbers to represent the important work they do. I have been able to use my skills in social research to help develop an appropriate data set for them to use in the future. This has been a fun challenge because it made me think about data presentation and what numbers mean in a new context.
Continuing in working with donors, I have been working a lot on grant writing as well, which is an incredibly important skill in the nonprofit world! I have been working with some local Rotary Club members to develop a proposal for a huge grant that will allow PACE to expand its programming so they can continue to develop a global health community, rather than presenting isolated workshops. This has been an engaging and educational experience, because I am now able to use the data I previously collected, and think about how to use it to present the programming we do, rather than with an audience who is already familiar with PACE.
Throughout this entire experience, I have been using my Spanish skills. It has been an incredible opportunity to take skills I learned in Sociology and Arts Administration, then apply them in a new cultural and professional context, including a second language. I have felt that the opportunity to explore my passions in a Spanish-speaking context has helped me realize more than ever how much language is a tool for communication, not just an academic area, and I am so thankful to have that tool. I am thankful for all the ways that the Sociology, Arts Administration, and Spanish departments have given me the tools to be able to succeed at PACE, and to the CDC and all the donors for helping me make this experience possible! I know it will impact me for the rest of my career.