Career Connections

Carolyn Goossen

Major: Kinesiology and Health

Minor/option/emphasis: KIN-Community and Public Health

Year: Senior
Hometown/State: Iowa Falls, Iowa

Type of experience: Internship
Company/Organization: Kalu Yala
Company/Organization website:
Title: Public Health and Wellness Intern
Destination: Panama City, Panama
Timeframe: January 15th- April 11th, 2016

Advisor/Coordinator Email:

I was responsible for...
While working for Kalu Yala I was responsible for participating in curriculum work focused on learning about Panama health disparities and the Panama health care system. Also, I was involved in group projects including developing case studies on health at Kalu Yala and implementing health infrastructure as well as creating an individual project about conducting social research.

I accomplished...
My greatest accomplishments from this internship include creating a new framework for social research for future Kalu Yala interns to use, and participating in the development and implementation of a clinic in the jungle.

My most valuable effort...
Creating a preventative health infrastructure for this growing community was the most fulfilling project that I took part in. With an institute continually growing in the jungle, it was very important for us to focus on creating on steps to preventing health issues, and having ways to treat them once they occured. At the end of our semester, the clinic we had planned out was in the process of being built.

I learned...
This semester constantly tested my ability to adapt. My original individual project was to complete a social research project on the health ideals and values held by the Kalu Yala community. However, with limited time and all of the steps to completing this project, I realized it wasn't feasible. This occured toward the end of the semester, and I realized I would have to change my entire project. At the end, I created a framework on completeing research for future Kalu Yala students to use. Now, they have steps to follow so they can be successful in completing research in a limited time frame. I realized that your original plan may not always turn out the way you thought, and you have to be flexible.

I will never forget...
My most memorable exerience during the semester was the week we hosted the Hatch Network. I got the chance to meet, network, and brainstorm, with amazing people creating amazing sustainability projects, including the Deputy Director of Science Research at Nasa and a Disney Imagineer.

A surprising discovery...
Experiencing a different culture made me realize that when dealing with the health of a community, you have to come from a place of empathy. You have to understand their values and ideals in order to really help. You cannot come into a new environment and try to implement what you might think is important to them.

Advice for others...
Don't let fear stop you from trying something new. If I would have stayed in my comfort zone, I would have never had the amazing experiences I had in Panama.

I first learned about this career-building experience from...
I found the Kalu Yala posting on facebook actually, and then found out that past Iowa State students had attended in previous semesters.

I landed this assignment by...
I filed an application online and was told to find a time for an interview. The interview process was difficult to complete because the staff of Kalu Yala is mainly off the grid, but persistance payed off.

I wanted this experience because...
I wanted to be a part of Kalu Yala because I'm very interested in international health and sustainable health. Kalu Yala is very focused on implementing best practices and sustainability while building their community.

Submit your experience!

Career Connections home