What it is like to be an intern at TREC

Rachyl Pines Staff Updates

By Jessica Nunez, Intern

Hello, my name is Jessica Nunez and I am from Santa Clarita, California. I am entering my fourth year at UCLA, majoring in Cognitive Science and Spanish, Community and Culture. I have been interning at Transplant Research and Education Center (TREC) since March 2019.

As a freshman, I was overwhelmed with the school dynamic and completed multiple searches in efforts to find a job that encompassed my passions and brought a sense of home to me. After a few interviews that unfortunately did not lead to a job, I came across this job listing through the work-study job search tab on MyUCLA. I was motivated to explore the healthcare field in any manner; I was interested in the internship with TREC since it would allow me to explore kidneys and family history of kidney disease. When I saw the listing, I was motivated to apply because it ultimately combined my passions for kidney research and the Spanish language into one position.

In my time working at TREC so far, I have become involved in various aspects of clinical research. My primary efforts include recruiting and surveying Spanish-speaking patients to communicate the educational materials available to them. In addition, I have helped edit videos of kidney donors, recipients, and allies to develop the patient storytelling portal, as well as contributed to social media plans for the TREC website/social media platforms. Through this work, I have learned that transplant and living donation is an opportunity and a hope to live. It is another chance for kidney disease patients to make the most out of life.

Through the work I have explored as an undergraduate, I have learned that it is imperative to seek out resources and be open to new opportunities. During my time at TREC, I have developed a strong interest to help address the health inequities in the Spanish-speaking, low-income communities and design health education resources for them. In the future, I would like to become a physician specializing in preventive medicine. Ultimately, I would like to address health inequities in these communities including diabetes prevention, heart health, and mental health.

I am grateful to be a part of a strong team at TREC that aims to design educational interventions about kidney disease, transplant, and living donation for the larger community of patients.