My name is Renata Aldrete, and I am a junior at The University of Texas at Austin. I am majoring in Communication Sciences and Disorders with a concentration in Speech-Language Pathology and a minor in Health Communication. This summer, I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to work for a life-changing nonprofit organization alongside an amazing team. As a Global Public Health Intern at Austin Smiles, I have learned so much about how nonprofits operate and how the organization has been able to make a large impact on health in Central Texas and Latin America.
During my time as a Global Public Health Intern, I have had the opportunity to work on various projects that are important to the achievement of the organization’s mission. As a part of my internship, I have helped seek funding from a variety of sources such as large and small businesses, government grants, and personal donations. This has been a unique experience because I learned that many people in the Austin community are willing to help, and their contributions are what keeps the organization giving life-changing care.
I have also learned much about the surgical process for children with a cleft lip and palate. As a Speech-Language Pathology major, I had prior knowledge about cleft lip and palate. Austin Smiles has shown me not only the importance of the surgeries they perform but also the social and emotional support they provide that is necessary throughout the child and their family’s life. Working within the organization by being part of the meetings in which all the necessary planning is made for the medical mission trips has taught me that it is important to have a team of motivated leaders to create a lasting impact.
Working as an intern at Austin Smiles has given me invaluable experience that I will carry on into my professional career in the Speech-Language Pathology field. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity I have had to work here this summer and look forward to seeing how much of an impact my work has on the smiles of many young children and their families.
Austin Smiles Global Public Health Intern