ME&A Fall Intern Joins Headquarters as New Hire – ME&A
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ME&A Fall Intern Joins Headquarters as New Hire

ME&A Fall Intern Joins Headquarters as New Hire

ME&A recently welcomed another accomplished and engaging recent college graduate joining our headquarters in Bethesda, Md., as an intern. The intern, Dulce Alanna Lejarde, who goes by Alanna, is a good fit for ME&A and was quickly hired after a month and a half as a full-time office administrative assistant.

Alanna graduated last spring from the University of Maryland College Park School of Public Health with a B.S. in Kinesiology. Kinesiology is the scientific study of human body movement and connects to physical therapy, sports conditioning, and personal training. She had been planning to attend graduate school; however, the pandemic gave her second thoughts about paying to study something requiring so much in-person patient work that can’t be done remotely. She heard about ME&A’s internship opportunities when she was trying to figure out how to adjust her professional plans safely to COVID-19.

“I had not had much exposure to international development. It is something new to me. I also had not worked in an office before,” Alanna said. “These are very useful skills to have under your belt. So I decided let’s do it.”

Alanna was a natural fit to intern under ME&A’s Director of Human Resources Lizette Laserna Salvador. Alanna was born in the Philippines, can speak Tagalog, has traveled extensively internationally, and understands culture differences and how to relate to people from different backgrounds. In addition, one of her college jobs was serving as a peer mentor in the Students Transitioning into Effective Professionals (STEP) Program where she collaborated closely with the program director to develop workshops aimed at helping students gain career-building skills. STEP experienced 900 percent growth during the time she managed the email account, contributed to and led meetings, and oversaw data entry and technical coordination.

“I am learning to apply what I already know at ME&A, and there is so much more to learn at ME&A about international development and other countries and cultures. But with COVID-19 around, it’s kind of hard to know where to go,” she said. “I could see myself working well with any public health-related international development project in the future. I could also see myself in graduate school after the pandemic. I will just go with the flow and stay open to change.”

ME&A’s other fall intern, Alexander Keninitz, was also hired at the end of his internship as a full-time project assistant.

“Alanna is an aspiring Kinesiologist. Because of the pandemic, she started switching her attention to other fields to reduce physical contact but may be a rewarding career for her in the future, ” Ms. Salvador said. “ME&A provides interns paid on-the-job training while fulfilling their school requirements. This is a hands-on experience used as a spring board for bigger and better things.”