Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Leadership lived: International student gains professional experience thanks to the Graduate Public Service Internship Program

Geetu Sharma came to the United States to be part of the Graduate Public Service Internship Program at the University of Illinois Springfield.

“It's a phenomenal work experience, which is provided by UIS to all the grad students,” she said. “We get the opportunity by interviewing with some of the state agencies and they hire us.”

In October 2018, Sharma started interning in the Office of Health Promotion at the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) where she works to prevent cases of youth suicide.

“I'm currently assisting with the youth suicide prevention project, along with researching what other states are doing about suicide prevention,” she said. “I'm also part of suicide alliance committee here.”

Sharma, who is earning her master’s degree in public health at UIS, is also active on campus as the Graduate Student Senator on the Student Government Association and president of Asian Student Organization. She previously worked as an International Student Ambassador where she helped welcome new students and planned events.

“Coming to the United States was always my dream,” she said. “Being here I have learned how to communicate with people, how your voice is important, along with that how this whole professional world works in America.”

Sharma was working as a dentist in New Delhi, India when she found out about the Graduate Public Service Internship Program from two friends who attend UIS. She wanted to gain more professional experience in the United States.

“They both told me about UIS,” she said. “They told me about this Graduate Public Service Internship Program and that was the only reason that I came to UIS.”

Following graduation from UIS, Sharma would like to work for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States.

“I am really blessed to be at UIS because whatever UIS gave me in this past one year, it's amazing,” she said. “Like it was not easy, but whatever I've achieved is something I really appreciate and I will just say I'm blessed.”

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