PBS Student Won Internship Scholarship Program Award

July 13, 2020

PBS undergraduate student Yasmeen Casillas recently won Internship Scholarship Program Award, which recognizes “the career ambition and accomplishments of awardees as they surpass barriers towards professional success”. This summer, Yasmeen will be working with Breath California Bay Area, a non-profit organization that “seeks to help those who suffer from lung diseases and educate not only them, but the general population as well.” Here is her story behind the award and the internship.


1. What motivated you to apply to work with Breathe California?

Breathe California is an organization that stood out to me considering the fact that their goal is to bring awareness to a healthy environment and acknowledge lungd diseases in all walks of life. The branch of the program that I applied to was the Children's Asthma Program because in the future I aspire to obtain my Masters in
Nursing in order to work in pediatric care. Breathe California’s internship program will give me hands-on experience with important workplace skills. This non-profit
organization seeks to help those who suffer from lung diseases and educate not only them, but the general population as well. Working one-on-one with children
and adults that have asthma and tuberculosis can provide me a sense of what their lives are like so that I could put myself in the patients’ shoes and learn from them for when I begin my medical practice and possibly assist those with similar diseases.

2. What will be your major responsibilities in Breathe California? 

My major responsibilities will include creating outreach programs for the Bay Area community. Another event that Breathe California hosts is a one-week educational
program for children between the ages of 6-12 where they could learn more about how to take precautionary steps while living with their asthma. Lastly, Breathe California also advocates for clean air policies so I am excited to bring awareness to the topic of lung diseases and ways to prevent them in a densely populated and polluted area.

3. In the age of COVID, what are some of the challenges AND hopes that you are anticipating working with an organization whose primary mission is to fight lung disease?

Due to COVID, my internship had to make major adjustments due to the fact that the majority of it normally relies heavily on in-person interactions. It has been a challenge working together as a team since there have been so many changes to shelter-in-place restrictions and certain company shut-downs. However, one thing I would say is  how flexible we are all able to be now when outreaching since working virtually makes communicating more fluid. More people are able to participate since instead of normal hours of operation, we have been on call and ready to communicate at almost any hour of the day!

4. What does the award mean to you in the process of seeking/securing this internship position? Do you have any tips that you would like to share with other PBS students who want to apply for internships in the future?

I was a bit hesitant when applying for the Breathe California internship when I noticed they were a non-profit organization and was going to go unpaid for interning with them. However, being a nurse doesn't just require knowledge on medical care, they need exceptional communication and interpersonal skills as well, which I knew I could obtain through group intern projects with Breathe Californian. Breathe California will also help me gain experience in public health that will be valuable in my future career, so I decided that in the long run it would be more beneficial than harmful.

My advice would be to not hesitate when applying to internships. Just apply, apply, apply, even if you feel like you won't qualify or it won't benefit you since it's unpaid
because in reality at the end of the day it's not what you know it's who you know. I would've still happily interned with Breathe California without the Internship Scholarship Award because I've learned so much about myself, Breathe California's Organization, and the health of others in the past weeks. YOU have what it takes, never doubt yourself.