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The 11th Street Co-op Experience: Q&A With Danielle Matthews

August 1, 2012 —

Danielle Matthews, Nutrition and Food Sciences ‘13, is completing a co-op at 11th Street Family Health Services in the role of Health Education Outreach Program Assistant. Danielle, of Williamsville, New York, plans to become a Registered Dietitian and earn a master’s degree. In her spare time, she enjoys running outdoors, painting, playing music and spending time with her friends and family. Here, she answers our questions about what it’s like to work at 11th Street.

Chartings: How did you first get connected with 11th Street?
Danielle Matthews: I actually learned about 11th Street through my interview process. I was not familiar with the center and didn’t really know what to expect. When I came for my interview, everyone was so kind and welcoming. I knew this would be a great place to work!

Chartings: What are the responsibilities of this co-op position?
DM: They include preparing and teaching various programs such as our cooking classes, Defeat Diabetes, Weigh-In Wednesday, Biggest Loser, Kids Fitness, and Teens in the Kitchen. I also help out with 11th Street’s urban garden, which harvests and sells some of the fresh produce used in our cooking classes. Most importantly, I feel like it is my responsibility to make a difference in this community. I also feel like interacting and building relationships with
the patients plays a big role in this position.

Chartings: Tell us about what a typical day looks like for you at 11th Street.
DM: Every day is different here at 11th Street and that is what I love about it. I quickly learned that there is no “typical day,” however, there are typical weeks. Each day is filled with different programs, tasks, activities and new experiences. I interact with patients and get to know them better each day.

Chartings: Based on your experience here, how do you think 11th Street differs from other health centers?
DM: 11th Street has created a holistic approach to healthcare. It is amazing to be able to come to a health center and not only see your primary care provider, but also possibly a behavioral health consultant, dentist, personal trainer, and even attend a wide variety of health and fitness programs. 11th street is not just your typical “clinic,” it is a health center that essentially offers a better quality of life because we truly care about the wellbeing of our patients.

Chartings: How has this co-op experience impacted you?
DM: 11th Street has opened my eyes to the community around me. I was unaware of the many obstacles and hardships the community is facing on a day-to-day basis. I am humbled to have the opportunity to help each and every one of our patients. With our departments being so closely intertwined, it has allowed me to gain a well-rounded, hands-on experience, which will help me in the future.

Chartings: What would you say to Drexel students who are thinking about exploring co-op opportunities at 11th Street?
DM: The co-op experience at Drexel is one of a kind. It has allowed me the opportunity to see firsthand multiple areas in my field of study. I would definitely tell any prospective student to experience Drexel’s co-op program in general, but especially at 11th Street. It offers a wide variety of programs and responsibilities, opening my eyes to more aspects in the healthcare industry.

Danielle closed our Q&A session saying, “This has been a great experience for me and I would like to thank each and every staff member who has shown me the ropes and made my experience one to remember. I’ll miss them all when I leave in September!”

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