Creating Smiles, Improving Lives

Interning with Austin Smiles – Reflection on the Experience

austin-smiles-our-supporters-collageHello Everyone!

My name is Veronica De La Fuente, and I am a Senior at Concordia University Texas. I am studying Global Public Health with a Healthcare Administration concentration and Behavioral Science minor. I am very close to getting my degree and graduating this December.

My overall experience of being an Intern this summer has been very exciting.  I am still learning something new every day. From the very beginning when I was looking into the possibility of interning with this organization, I loved their mission statement. The statement reads, “Austin Smiles – The Austin Plastic Surgery Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide sustainable surgical and post-surgical care to children born with cleft lip and cleft palate both in Central Texas and Latin America.” I’ve always said that I have wanted to help people in my lifetime and working with an organization of this caliber has allowed me to work for something bigger than myself.

As a Global Public Health Major, I am experiencing firsthand what it takes to run a nonprofit organization. For example, working on medical inventory, digitizing patient records, evaluation development, and continued research on cleft lip and palate. It’s no question that Austin Smiles is an integral part of the community that supports other organizations and local hospitals. An example of this would be the newborn kits that were donated to Dell Children’s Hospital. Seeing how happy it made the staff in the Craniofacial department was very fulfilling.  Another example would be the medical mission trips that take place in El Salvador and Guatemala. These trips have such a lasting impact on the families in these countries because their children are recipients of wonderful care from the entire team of Austin Smiles.

I’m very fortunate to intern with an organization that continues to create these life-changing moments for children and their families. Having such a diverse and well-organized team ensures that the health of all patients is the top priority. The doctors, nurses, Renee, Ellise, and everyone involved are the heart of Austin Smiles.


Veronica De La Fuente
Global Public Health Intern
Summer 2021

1 in 700 children are born with a cleft lip or palate

$250 covers the cost of one life-changing surgery

150 volunteers annually will change a child’s life forever

Austin Smiles - local services Camp Amigo photo

Medical Mission Trips

Austin Smiles goes on 2-3 medical mission trips annually

Austin Smiles - local services spring picnic photo

Our Local Services

Our local program support for children born with Cleft Lip and Palate in Texas

Austin Smiles - local services sponsor locally photo

Sponsor a Child

Make a difference for a child in need