My summer internship experience would not have been even half as good if it were not for all of the great staff at HCM Strategists. Especially the fellow intern on the health team, Stephen Gamboa.
Some things you should know about Stephen is that he is a few years older than me, has a master’s degree and just completed a distinguished fellowship at AIDS United. He is on his way to grace Columbia Law school with his intelligence, drive, and strong work ethic. He’s so hard-working that he would G-chat me about projects on Friday’s, even though it was his day off.
Like me, he has a passion for health policy, advocacy, and making a difference in patient’s lives. He is wicked good at answering and transferring the phones, knows a lot of about hospital systems and was eager to learn more about diabetes and the Dexcom CGM system.
Stephen was great to rehash the weekend with on Mondays, was always down for Chipotle, and even though he may have won (by a slim margin) in our Meeting Schedule Competition, I knew we would get along when he shared his favorite Mean Girls movie quote, and that he also prefers to eat ramen without the broth.
Here’s a spotlight on Stephen, hope you enjoy.
AL: Where are you from originally?
SG: I am originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico.
AL: Where did you complete your undergrad?
SG: I completed my undergrad and a master’s degree at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona
AL: What are your degrees in?
SG: For undergrad – I majored in Music Performance and was also Pre-Med. My Master’s degree is a Master of Healthcare Innovation
AL: What other internships and fellowships have you held? What are most memorable moments or times from those experiences?
SG: 1) Mayo Clinic Premedical Scholar – I really enjoyed shadowing doctors and nurses and getting a feel for the clinical side of healthcare. This was especially inspiring to me at the time because I was interested in a career in medicine.
2) Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS – I interned here for a year during my Master’s degree and I helped manage a research program called Integrated Collaborative Care. This program served as a holistic model of healthcare delivery for 75 research participants and I helped both with the logistics as well as some of the data analysis. This was an amazing opportunity to see how research can have a real impact on the daily lives of patients.
3) AIDS United Pedro Zamora Public Policy Fellow – This was my first job out of school and my favorite memory was going to the annual Presidential Advisory Council and on HIV/AIDS meeting. During this meeting, I got to see a lot of leaders in the field come together and talk about issues and suggest solutions for the federal government to pursue.
AL: What do you do in your spare time?
SG: I’m a big runner and am currently training for the Marine Corps Marathon so I spend a lot of time outside of work either running, at the gym, or in a spin or yoga class. Additionally, I love checking out new places in Washington, DC since I’ve only been here for a year and eating really good food!
AL: What’s your favorite food?
SG: I love French cuisine, so Le Diplomat on 14th St. is one of my favorite DC restaurants.
AL: Favorite spot in DC?
SG: I have two – The Hirschhorn Museum on the National Mall is great. They have really incredible exhibits and they have a great reading spot that overlooks the mall that I often find myself at. My other favorite DC spot is Rock Creek Park – I run quite a bit in Rock Creek and it’s a great way to enjoy some greenery and at least have the illusion like you’re getting out of the city.
AL: What do you think you’ve learned most from this internship experience?
SG: I’ve learned a lot about the approach to developing a public policy strategy. For example, I got to sit in on the initial planning meetings for the ISTH project and it was great to observe how HCM creates a strategy to take the organization from where they are to where they want to be. That’s a transferable skill that I think will really help me in the future.
AL: What has been your favorite part of this internship?
SG: Aside from learning a lot about building strong client relationships and creating strategy to help organizations with their public policy agendas, I really enjoyed the people. It was a great, collaborative work environment and I was able to get along well with everyone on the health team!
AL: What is next? And how do you feel about that?
SG: I will be moving to New York City at the end of the summer to pursue an MPH/JD dual degree program at Columbia University. I am very excited for this next chapter, but honestly, also just a bit nervous. We will see how it goes!
Stephen had one final DC hurrah this past week when we ventured up to the top of the Washington Monument to capture these stunning views. (pictured above)
Thank you Stephen for sharing all the advice you have on Grad School and beyond. And if we ever find ourselves meeting again, please hire me.