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Student Spotlight: Martina Mellang

Where are you originally from?

Born and raised in a small ski and tourist town on the north shore of Lake Superior called Lutsen Minnesota.

Where did you attend/or currently are attending school? (high school, university, etc)

University of Wisconsin La Crosse

What was your first experience with AHEC and what did you learn from it?

My first encounter with AHEC was this summer 2014 where I was a camp counselor for the Health Careers Camp in La Crosse. During this week I had the chance to meet some brilliant high school students who were ready to learn about and pursue many avenues of the medical field. I enjoyed my time with the highly energetic and curious students who were ready to dive into a week of professional shadowing and hands on experiences. Soon after camp ended, I connected with Scenic Bluffs Community Health Center in Cashton through some networks. Through this connection, I learned about and applied for a service position through AmeriCorp and the Wisconsin Primary Health Care Association. I accepted the position as the Community Wellness Specialist and have enjoyed working in this rural health care setting. I choose to take this one year commitment because it aligned with my passion to educate and interact with the community. My time so far has been so much more than I could have expected and I have met intelligent and positive people that have worked with me to make this experience one of a kind. I am confident that the collaborations, along with the variety of community outreach, and guidance gained from this year of service will launch me into a public health career.

Did you continue to participate in any AHEC programs such as camp counselor, AHEC alumni or AHEConnect?

I have continued to stay connected with AHEC by giving tours of Scenic Bluffs Community Health Center to Viterbo nursing students. These tours give each student a snapshot of what rural health care looks like and the importance of access to care for the population of people we serve.

Do you have plans to take advantage of AHEC programs in the future?

I hope to take advantage of any opportunities AHEC has in the future. I have a passion for getting people involved in a public health revolution to better ourselves and this earth. This is possible through education and getting students exposure to the rich opportunities in the medical and public health fields.

What advice would you give to younger students starting to navigate their future in a health care career?

Navigating the career that is best for you can be overwhelming. Go to your personal drawing board and just start making a list of the things you are good at and what you would like to do if there were no limits. Then start networking. This just means to simply talk to people and introduce yourself. Networking will always come in handy. The more people you know in your field of interest the better opportunities you will have to get your foot in the door. Explore many options. Take classes that you would have never considered. Volunteering has always been a positive experience for me and is another way to get plugged in. Volunteering is also a great way to help you decide if you are interested in a certain field. Even if you have no clue what direction you want to go in, don’t settle, keep the momentum going, and have fun along the way.

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