Nicole Balog

Youngstown State University
2018

“Along with my internship, my time in the Ohio Scholars in Aging program has helped prepare me for a future career. I enjoyed making new connections/contacts, learning relevant and interesting information from highly knowledgeable people, and even experiencing state government.”

To further my education in gerontology, I completed an internship at Ohio Living Park Vista, a continuing care retirement community located in Youngstown. While there, I split my internship into two parts: activities department and the Mahoning Valley Lifelong Learning Institute (MVLLI).

Within the activities department, my goals were to observe how the department operated, assist with the daily functions and activities, and learn how to fill out the necessary paperwork. Paperwork I was responsible for included several new assessments for assisted living residents. In addition, I wanted to meet administration and learn about the general operations of the facility.

The other half of my internship was with the MVLLI. There, I learned how the MVLLI operates, how it is funded, and how to set up programs. I was responsible for a few short-term projects, including compiling a list of unique attendees of the MVLLI. I also appreciated being able to collaborate with the MVLLI on my Master’s thesis. This helped tie together the information I already knew with my internship and progress my thesis toward completion.

One aspect of being a part of both departments I enjoyed was being immersed in different levels of care. Activities, while available to all, mainly focused on skilled nursing and assisted living. The MVLLI, meanwhile, had participants from independent as well as from assisted living. I recognize the value having internships at both ends of the spectrum as I progress in my education and look toward a future career in aging.

Although there were obstacles throughout my internship, one that stuck with me was the difficulty of managing time and duties. Because I was split between two internships, as well as data collection for my thesis, I had to balance time dedicated to my duties equally, which was difficult in some instances. In the end, my supervisors were understanding and taught me ways to manage my time and duties to each. This was a helpful lesson because managing and balancing different projects will most likely be a part of my future career.

From this internship, I was offered a job with the activities department, which will allow me to continue building relationships and experience with this facility.

Along with my internship, my time in the Ohio Scholars in Aging program has helped prepare me for a future career. I enjoyed making new connections/contacts, learning relevant and interesting information from highly knowledgeable people, and even experiencing state government. These were all possible through the program, the Ohio Department of Aging (ODA), and the Ohio Association of Gerontology and Education (OAGE). I am extremely grateful for the opportunities they presented, which also included a chance to attend and present at a formal conference, held by OAGE. The experience I had through the Ohio Scholars in Aging program is something I can carry the rest of my career, including in the position I was offered with the activities department.