Birmingham Promise interns work with Forge AHEAD Center for the Spring semester

Birmingham Promise interns work with Forge AHEAD Center for the Spring semester

Forge AHEAD Center is proud to host two interns from the Birmingham Promise for a 2024 Spring semester internship, which began on Jan. 22.

Mariah Beamon and Jermya Norris are seniors enrolled at a Birmingham City School. Each has a passionate goal of making a difference in medicine and science after graduation. Interning with Forge AHEAD Center offers the students support, experience, and early preparation for their respective fields.

A promise to youth in Birmingham, Alabama

The Birmingham Promise program provides up to four years of tuition assistance for graduates of Birmingham City Schools to attend any public two-year or four-year college or university in Alabama. UAB, the first academic partner of the program, is committed to supporting the Birmingham Promise by facilitating a scholarship for students who are admitted to UAB as first-time, full-time freshmen in the academic year following high school graduation from a Birmingham City School. Announced in 2020, the program has provided $3.4 million in tuition assistance and other support to 800 Birmingham graduates.

A unique aspect of the Birmingham Promise is its internship program that allows Birmingham City Schools seniors to earn $15 an hour while getting job experience and building professional networks.

Paving the way for the future of health care

Mariah and Jermya spend their internship hours on UAB’s campus several days per week. Each says their time with Forge AHEAD Center has helped build connections and learn about research faculty and staff’s education and work. So far, they have met with Kristen Allen Watts, Ph.D., assistant professor in the UAB Heersink School of Medicine Division of Preventive Medicine, and Samantha Hill, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Emory University’s School of Medicine, to discuss career trajectories and experiences.

Both seniors have internship projects dedicated to a topic surrounding health disparities. Mariah, who attends Ramsay IB High School, is focused on a project that researches maternal health and mortality rates in the Deep South. She is pursuing a career in OB/GYN.

Jermya’s project focuses on researching HIV prevention in adolescent populations. During her internship, she met with an HIV researcher and learned about PrEP. A George Washington High School student, she wants to pursue a nursing career.

During the internship, professional development sessions have covered seven core competencies, focusing on aligning passions with future goals. They have spent time aligning their passions with their future goals. They worked with former Community Engagement Core Program Director Adrianne Marbury to create systems that organize their to-do list using the GTD methodology.

The Spring internship lasts until April 19. Forge AHEAD Center, in partnership with the Birmingham Promise Program, is committed to ensuring a positive internship experience to inspire students to pursue careers in public health and contribute to their hometown community.