Internship Spotlight: Hana Bernhardson, ’17

Hana Bernhardson, ’17, is currently pursuing a major in exercise science and art. This summer, she interned with the University of Nebraska Medical Center and the American Heart Association.

Where did you intern this summer and what was your position title?
This summer I interned with the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) and the American Heart Association (AHA). I was a project assistant under a National Health Institute R01 grant. This five-year grant project, “HEART Camp: Promoting Adherence to Exercise in Patients with Heart Failure,” will be published in March 2017.

What are the top 3 takeaways you learned while interning?

  1. Take advantage of all your established connections.
    I landed this internship as a senior in high school. For my senior research project, I was attempting to institute a plan that provided free ECGs for high school athletes. Utilizing a connection from my church, I ended up talking with my future boss about my senior project. Although the assignment was just a short-term goal, that initial meeting led to a fantastic internship that I have had for the past three summers.
  2. Remember no task is beneath you.
    When I first started working under this grant several of my tasks seemed menial. Nevertheless, because of my efficiency with these humbling tasks I was given the opportunity to interact with patients and eventually play a central role in the data collection and analysis.
  3. Establish connections within your internship.
    As a part of my internship, I was able to meet the program director in the UNMC Division of Physical Therapy Education. This opportunity was fantastic. In fact, I gained several tips on how I could bolster my resume before applying for Physical Therapy school.

Do you have any advice for students when looking for an internship?

When looking for an internship, you should initially think about your family connections. Make a short list of the people in your field of interest and make an effort to talk with them. You should also utilize Hillsdale College’s connections and services. As a freshman, I went into the Career Services office and they helped me develop a game plan for graduate school. Although some of these situations can be uncomfortable, put yourself out there. That uncomfortable situation may evolve into an internship or better yet a job.

What was your favorite part of the internship?

The highlight of my internship was getting to know several medical professionals. Their knowledge, in addition to the internship itself, allowed me to see a whole new side of Physical Therapy. In fact, my internship solidified my decision to pursue a Doctorate in Physical Therapy upon my graduation from Hillsdale College.