Public Health's Future Workforce: Insight and Inspiration from an AKA Intern



12,000.

There are nearly twelve-thousand different careers in the world, and I am sure I have wanted to try out at least eleven-thousand, nine-hundred, and ninety-nine of those options, but nothing felt quite right. Hi, my name is Ashley Weigum, and I am currently a Native American public health student. I have been an intern at Allyson Kelley and Associates for almost a year now, just in time for public health week! I grew up in Billings, Montana, and on the Fort Belknap Reservation, and I am a descendent of the Gros Ventre tribe.


Ever since I was a little girl, my family has encouraged me to do whatever makes my heart happy and follow my dreams. So, while growing up, I have wanted to be a lawyer, chef, teacher, doctor, and pilot… unfortunately with that, there's not precisely one career that would mash together to satisfy those requirements. Trust me, I tried. However, interestingly enough, I had never even heard of public health in all of that.

"What started as helping my people; turned into helping the world around me, and doing such fantastic and fulfilling work each and every day."

Fast-forward a couple of years, when it came down to starting college, I still didn't know what I wanted to do specifically, but I knew I wanted to continue my education. So, I started small, working on my general education requirements. Then, along came this internship. I have always wanted to somehow give back to the community that has given me so much, and this became just that, and then so much more. Working with Allyson and the entire team has been one of the most eye-opening and gratifying experiences. What started as helping my people; turned into helping the world around me, and doing such fantastic and fulfilling work each and every day. I get to work in my community and communities all around the state and learn from incredible people about the world around us. I have learned that you can tell so much from one's story and that words are one of our greatest assets. I have learned the importance of equity and community health. I have learned how public health is everywhere around us and its essential role in our day-to-day lives. Going into public health, I look forward to the years ahead and the change we hope to see.


In my search of eleven-thousand, nine-hundred, and ninety-nine careers, this was my twelve-thousandth, my dream career. It became the one, the one where I felt I was right where I belonged, where public health was where I needed to be.


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