SOAR students seek out experiential learning opportunities that are both relevant to their career plans and align with their values and desire to impact their communities. Many SOAR students realize those goals by doing an internship. Here’s an internship snapshot of SOAR affiliate student April Marvin.
Senior, Communication/PR major, minoring in Political Science
April is involved on campus as the president of the Public Relations Student Society of America, a student blogger, and a research assistant for the Communication Department. She returned to UM-Dearborn as a junior after a 15-year break working in retail management and taking care of her family. April plans to work in government PR where she wants to connect the public and people to the government, so “the laws our legislators make match what our people want and need.”
April is SOAR’s current social media and PR intern and has had some experience in internships. Her previous role centered on public policy and white page document drafting for legislation in the State of Michigan surrounding mental health care. Through the Public Policy & Law internship program, April worked directly with the CEO and president of the Mental Health Association in Michigan (MHAM). April also worked on integrated health care in Michigan, parity in mental health treatment, and providing research and education about mental health care. She developed a webinar roundtable featuring combat-wounded veterans discussing access to mental health care and stigmas associated with mental health issues.
April was also responsible for developing an integrated health care survey, distributing it beyond the typical responders to cover the criminal justice system, inmates in jails and prisons, elderly, veterans, uninsured, and low-income constituents, traveling around the state distributing the survey to prisons, senior citizens, and the veteran’s hospitals. She compiled data, created graphics, and prepared concise analyses to present to the public, stakeholders, and legislators.
“What I found out, from some very concerned people, is that our government and health care plans just don’t take the time to help our people understand their care,” April shared, “I want to help be the bridge that connects people to knowledge and resources, so they feel empowered in their care.” After her internship was completed, April was hired by MHAM as a contracted researcher to continue her work, producing and presenting a webinar series to educate the public on Michigan’s plans for integrated care as well as proposed ideas based on her research of other states and countries that currently have integrated care plans.
She is currently working closely with MHAM to get information to the public and to keep Michigan legislators aware of what the people want. “My internship taught me a lot about myself, my abilities, and what I wanted to do, but most of all I learned of the strength in my own voice to help others, and I intend to use that to push for change.”