Junior Christopher interns at Regional Health Services of Howard County

Exploring the field of public health, Hanna Christopher of Reinbeck, Iowa, spent her summer as an intern at Regional Health Services of Howard County, Iowa.

Christopher, daughter of Carol Christopher and Phil Chien of Cedar Falls, Iowa, and Bruce Christopher of Burr Oak, Iowa, graduated from Gladbrook-Reinbeck High School in 2015. She plans to graduate from Luther in 2019 with a major in health and fitness promotion and a minor in management.

All residents of Howard County have access to Regional Health Services, an association of hospital, clinic and pharmaceutical services. Working in the RHS marketing department, Christopher attended meetings and observed supervisors in various units of the hospital. She also generated posters to promote the Walk More Connect More campaign in Northeastern Iowa, which were also featured on the Luther campus for the Wellness department's Walktober campaign. For RAGBRAI 2017, Christopher created an information bulletin for the bikers' stay in Cresco, Iowa.

The culmination of her efforts at Regional Health Services was a family fun night in August engaging community members with free food, bouncy houses, a DJ, a balloon artist, Cy the Cyclone mascot as well as the Cadet mascot and the Mercy helicopter.

With an open mind and desire to learn, Christopher said she enjoyed being "able to closely interact with my supervisor which allowed me to see how she dealt with issues in her position." Christopher also observed that "in order to communicate effectively, you must know how the people you work with function." As well as gaining insights into interpersonal communication, Christopher garnered the confidence to share her thoughts within the hierarchical structure of a business setting.

Working with Howard County's health system exposed Christopher to the diversity of services a hospital offers. Her ability to connect with employees, patients and community members sparked Christopher's curiosity about future health internships or jobs after graduation.

Approximately 10 percent of Luther students take an internship for academic credit each academic year. The Luther College Career Center assists students with their internship search through resume preparation, networking, online internship searches, career fairs, on-campus interviewing, and connecting the student to alumni through the college's Alumni Internship Program. Students also meet with a faculty adviser prior to the internship to create an internship learning plan that includes learning goals and assessment benchmarks.

An internship work supervisor assists in the process by writing an evaluation of the student at the end of the internship. Students also complete a self-reflection form to help finalize the learning experience.

A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,050, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree in more than 60 majors and pre-professional programs. For more information about Luther visit the college's website: http://www.luther.edu.

Hanna Christopher and Jennalee Pedretti, the Vice President of Operations at RHSHC