Luther senior Chirwa interns as a health care provider

Engaging with both children and hospital patients, Luther College senior Tiwonge Chirwa of Lilongwe, Malawi, spent the summer as a health care coordinator at Camp Hiawatha and Camp Vermillion, and as an intern at Cook Hospital in Cook, Minnesota.

Chirwa, daughter of Mercy and Chenjerani Chirwa, is a 2014 graduate of Waterford Kamhlaba United World College of Southern Africa. She plans to graduate from Luther in 2019 with a major in biology.

As a health care coordinator at Camp Hiawatha and Camp Vermillion, Chirwa cared for the health and well-being of campers and staff by packing and distributing medicine to campers during meal times and being an emergency contact at the camp. At Cook Hospital, she was able to shadow different health care providers such as physicians, nurses, physician assistants and physical therapist to observe patient-doctor interactions in the clinic and emergency rooms.

Through her internships, Chirwa identified her "biggest strength as being a restorative person," discovering that a "career in health care would fit her core values and strengths." By challenging herself, she hopes to see this strength grow in different fields of health care.

Interning at camp made Chirwa realize that she enjoys working with kids, but she would especially like to work as physician assistant and provide health care. Through her interactions with providers, she gained confidence and insight into this career path.

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 2,005, 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.