Columbus, OH,
16:17 PM

Two interns teach OhioHealth the value of diversity

Pursuing a degree in higher education and trying to gain experience through an internship can be difficult for anyone; but for two students from Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf (RIT/NTID) in Rochester, NY, the barriers are different than the average college student.

Nay Lin Aung, a third-year Applied Computer Technology major who is deaf, and Matthew Nelson, a second-year Computing major who is hard-of-hearing interned in OhioHealth’s Information Services (IS) Department this summer. The interns did more than learn how to repair hardware; they taught their team and other associates the value of diversity and how they are able to adapt using alternative forms of communication.

The interns used text messaging and American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate with each other. For communicating with the other members of the IS team and other associates, Matthew was able to read lips and communicate verbally and Nay used a pen and paper, phone, computer or an OhioHealth interpreter. Nay said he was most worried about overcoming the communication barrier before the internship.

“I always tried to communicate through writing on paper without the interpreter,” Nay said. “It was often possible to read clients’ facial expressions and body language to understand what they need.”

While Nay and Matthew may have concerns different from other interns or new associates at OhioHealth, some of their concerns are the same. Matthew said one of the most difficult parts of the internship at first was knowing how to navigate OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital.

This was the first year RIT/NTID interns worked at two OhioHealth care sites. The internship program with RIT/NTID was founded years ago in collaboration with OhioHealth Workplace Accommodation. In years past, interns worked exclusively at Riverside Methodist, but this year, they rotated between working in desktop support at OhioHealth Grant Medical Center and Riverside Methodist. This allowed the interns to widen their exposure and diversify their experiences.

“The most valuable thing I learned was how to interact with employees and patients,” Matthew said. “It was also valuable to learn about the hospital environment.”

Both interns agreed this experience complemented their coursework and helped further prepare them for entering the job market after graduation.

“This internship helped me to gain a lot of different experiences,” Nay said. “Now, I can confidently communicate with my clients about the computer issues I’ve encountered in my internship experience.”