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Alexis Crawford
“Since day one at Penn State I knew I wanted to attend medical school or physician assistant school. The Biobehavioral Health program and my internship helped to solidify these plans.”
Alexis Crawford
Biobehavioral Health

One internship experience offers clinical and observational opportunities

November 15, 2018
Bridget Forde

Last summer, Alexis Crawford experienced two different sides of her field of study through one exciting internship at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center.

The Emergency Medicine Research Associate Program (EMRAP) was brought to Crawford’s attention by Elizabeth Lasher, internship coordinator for the Department of Biobehavioral Health. Crawford pursued this opportunity because she plans to one day become a physician assistant. Currently, she is a junior, majoring in biobehavioral health (BBH) at University Park.

Through this immersive internship, Crawford was not only able to observe physicians and physician assistants in action in the emergency room of the medical center, but also learned about their clinical research first-hand. For most of the summer, she was working three days per week, eight hours per day.

“I have always had an interest in medicine and throughout high school I was very involved with health profession classes,” said Crawford. “Since day one at Penn State I knew I wanted to attend medical school or physician assistant school, but I was not quite sure of which one.”

Crawford started at Penn State as a biochemistry and molecular biology major but changed to biobehavioral health by her second semester. As a BBH major, Crawford developed a new understanding of medicine, learning the importance of treating the patient as a whole as opposed to just their physical symptoms. This coursework, along with this internship experience, helped solidify her career goal of becoming a physician assistant.

“The internship I was able to complete, thanks to funding from the 2017 #GivingTuesday campaign, solidified my career goal of becoming a physician assistant, and I am eager to learn more about the human body through my undergraduate experience at Penn State.” — Alexis Crawford ‘20 	Biobehavioral Health

“Every day there were exciting new cases coming through the doors and I loved learning how a team of doctors, physician assistants and nurses would go about treating a patient,” Crawford said of her time at the medical center. “My knowledge of medicine expanded greatly just by observing and interacting with individuals in an extremely fast-paced, emergent environment.”

She plans to take this experience with her to physician assistant school when she graduates from Penn State in 2020. Crawford is currently considering schools in both the Philadelphia and North Carolina areas, such as Penn State Hershey, Thomas Jefferson, Duke and Wake Forest.

Crawford’s internship experience was funded by a 2017 #GivingTuesday campaign scholarship and awarded to her by the College of Health and Human Development.

“I would like to say thank you to those who funded this scholarship,” said Crawford. “Without your help, I would not have had the opportunity as a student to gain this experience as an emerging health care professional.”