Gaining Perspective During These Historic Times

Kyle Chan, Kyle, Teacher’s Assistant for Enterprise’s Career Exploration Internship, Class of 2022 at Cal Poly
July 29, 2020

My name is Kyle and I am a second year Kinesiology major at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. This summer I am in Enterprise for Youth’s virtual Career Exploration internship program as a program assistant. This virtual internship provides me with the opportunity to both learn and help facilitate a program for youth to explore the world of work.

On June 18th, we attended a health career panel featuring professionals of various disciplines. We were fortunate to have the opportunity to interview these accomplished individuals in light of the current global pandemic and civil unrest. Celeste Protho, a mother and registered nurse at Kaiser permanente San Francisco, spoke about her experiences working in the hospital and gave advice on how to avoid COVID-19. Based on previous pandemics like the Spanish flu, Celeste warned students of a possible second wave resurgence and to proceed with great caution with the lifting of shelter in place. Celeste provided interesting insight into patient care because many of her patients expressed concerns about the high cost of COVID-19 treatment. Celeste’s comments helped me better understand how healthcare is provided and reaffirmed my interest in pursuing a career that helps others. 

Infection Prevention Program Manager Celeste Prothro from Kaiser Permanente

 speaks on a panel to youth during a Career Exploration event over Zoom

Dr. Rebecca Watters, Medical Director at Baywell Psychiatry Group

With the shelter in place orders, many people are experiencing emotional turmoil and anxiety about the future. Dr. Rebecca Watters, a certified general psychiatrist, shared her experiences working with patients during this pandemic and the increased awareness of mental illness. Rebecca recently noticed a sharp increase of stress and anxiety in her patients due to the uncertainty surrounding the future of their jobs, health, and the political climate. In light of the protest against police brutality, Rebecca expressed concerns over the distribution of government funds and suggested moving funding towards mental health services for people on the streets. Learning of Rebecca’s experiences, gave me a new perspective on the importance of access to mental health services within our community during these stressful times. 

John Reid, Director of Development at Center for African American Health

For the final presentation, John Reid shared his vast experience working with a variety of nonprofits, which included raising nearly $1 Billion dollars for the organizations he represented. Although I was impressed by John’s ability to raise significant funds, I found his work promoting the Center for African American Health to be the most impressive part of his background because the center provided essential services for people in need. As an African American and advocate for equality, John expressed his appreciation for people signing petitions and risking exposure to COVID-19 while attending peaceful protests. John helped me appreciate the important role that nonprofit organizations play in helping communities that lack access to healthcare. Learning about John’s participation in the business side of healthcare also broadened my understanding of how the health industry is structured.

I felt fortunate to learn from these amazing individuals and gain their perspectives during this historic time. I enjoyed the panel because it addressed two of the most important issues of our time, the Black Lives Matter movement and the current health crisis. It was inspiring to hear how these professionals in the medical field are actively working to solve our world’s problems.