Honors Senior Theses/Projects

Date of Award

6-1-2010

Department

Honors Program

Faculty Advisor

Jessica Henderson

Honors Program Director

Gavin Keulks

Abstract

Objectives. This study aimed to gain insights into perceptions of student interns who participated in a professional advocacy training conference and to describe the training impact s on their educational experience, personal growth, and professional development. Methods. Study participants included 20 Western Oregon University student interns. Each student completed a motivations survey prior to training, five open -ended journal entries during training, and an intentions survey upon completion of the advocacy training. Qualitative data w ere transcribed and analyzed using content analysis techniques and quantitative data were analyzed with SPSS statistical software. Results. Top motivations for participation in the training internship were to learn outside of the classroom and to learn how to become an advocate. The four themes that emerged from the journal entries were (1) connecting with breast cancer survivors and advocates; (2) empowerment; (3) learning; and, (4) action through advocacy. Perceived benefits included enrichment of the college learning experience and personal growth. Post -internship, students had intentions to be lifelong advocates and believe d that the political system works only when we participate and advocate. Conclusion. Student perceptions were that the advocacy experience enhanced their personal growth and professional development. Since advocacy is one of the seven responsibilities of a health educator, it is essential that academic programs recognize the value of advocacy development among students.

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