by Alexa Hirschberg
Alexa Hirschberg of Emory University
My experience as a WEBeMED intern exposed me to a variety of innovative concepts, interpersonal dynamics and problem-solving tactics. The WEBeMED team made a conscious effort to get me acclimated as quickly as possible so that I could dive into the company and bring my own ideas and opinions to the table. Throughout the summer, I primarily focused on three projects: expansion, marketing and development.
I calculated effective expansion locations for providers, students and universities with an expansion-scoring model. Each of the WEBeMED summer interns was assigned different states to manage under this project. In this, I analyzed statewide telemedicine and telepsychology laws for New York and Georgia; I assessed which universities have students with the greatest demand for our services as well as measured the quantity and quality of mental health resources in universities’ surrounding areas. This project enabled WEBeMED to allocate specific regions and universities that will benefit most from our services, providing the company with a starting point as to where to begin successful expansion.
I also developed a marketing plan, which was exciting in that my proposition was actualized. I curated a program called “Student Stories”, which I designed to incorporate mental health stories into campus life. My proposal included an outline of what means I would use to make this outlet popular, what guidelines I would put in place to ensure that it is both meaningful and beneficial as well as how often the publication would run. Within days of sending this document to my boss, my proposal had been passed along to the entire company. Over next few weeks we had multiple conferences and meetings to discuss the marketing plan and eventually, my proposal was turned into a reality. I thought that this exercise was meant to spark ideas and that it would not be taken as a serious proposition, however I was very wrong. Every individual working at WEBeMED, no matter their title, shows me respect and values my ideas – they want to learn from me as much as I want to learn from them. I find that this aspect of WEBeMED is extremely unique.
Working remotely was a learning experience in itself; developing an understanding of the importance of consistent communication among co-workers was essential to my success at WEBeMED. Weekly meetings held on Google Hangouts, and through the WEBeMED platform allowed for me to feel as though I was working right next to my co-interns and bosses despite distance.
The support of the WEBeMED staff is consistent and genuine: my bosses held conferences to discuss resume building, developing professional networks and future opportunities. By working with WEBeMED, I had access to mentors who have experience in the field of public health. Our communication was so fluid that I plan to continue this experience through the next semester as I head off to study abroad in London. My summer internship not only provided me with mentorship and invaluable lessons, but also inspired me to continue to build my future around mental health.