Intern Spotlight: Sara Grace Chan and Hannah Reyes

Maximus interns put studies to use by organizing Health Talks sessions

Health Talks: Intersections of Health at Maximus

When Hannah Reyes and Sara-Grace Chan joined Maximus’ internship program last summer, they never expected they would be creating and facilitating educational presentations and discussions about topics relating to health equity for the company months later. These sessions aim to enlighten Maximus employees about the various health projects within the company as well as provide insight that can be applied to their personal lives. Health Talks kicked off on February 17 and are open to all Maximus employees.

With the support from Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and other teams, the interns will help facilitate discussions on topics such as health communications, technology and artificial intelligence, and public health throughout the year.

Why did you choose this career field?

Sara Grace Chan: I wanted to work in healthcare administration and focus on improving health equity in Houston. Studying public health and focusing on healthcare management will prepare me to become a compassionate healthcare leader who advocates for minorities and people of low socioeconomic status.

Hannah Reyes: Having worked in various capacities in the social services sector, I learned how poverty negatively affects the livelihoods of so many people here in the U.S. and how the issues that perpetuate poverty are intertwined and connected. I chose this field to make a positive impact through poverty alleviation in my communities in Austin, Houston, and beyond.

What is the purpose of the Health Talks?

Sara Grace Chan: Health Talks seek to bring awareness of health equity not only for the sake of people’s personal gain but also so that employees can better understand the situations of the people that their programs serve. Additionally, there is a wealth of knowledge found in Maximus’ experts, which allows them to share their knowledge. We hope this initiative connects program areas in new ways, to learn from one another and hear about the magnificent work employees do every day.

Why is it important for Maximus employees to attend or understand what is going on in the public health sector (and related topics)?

Hannah Reyes: Knowledge is power, and we want to provide the opportunity for employees to learn more about these topics in broader ways, such as how their work relates to other health and social programs. Public health is important because it sheds light on other related social issues. Many of the health projects at Maximus are interconnected. Being aware of the connections will improve our ability to help our clients more deeply and sustainably through our work.

What do you hope employees will take away from the monthly sessions?

Sara Grace Chan: We hope they will take away at least one insight from each talk that makes them think about their project in a new way or reminds them of something they already knew but had forgotten to put into practice. We hope the talks will be informative and allow employees to learn about other people and projects at the company.

How has your experience been as Maximus interns?

Hannah Reyes: It has been amazing. The Texas Enrollment Broker project has been such a supportive team that has empowered us to hone our skills and learn more about health policy and policy operationalization. We thank our amazing supervisor Jennifer Vandewalle and our many mentors and, of course, Kinte Ibbott, Dr. Arvenita Cherry, and Corinna Dan, the co-chairs of Health Talks: Intersections of Health, who have been champions for us to pursue things that challenge us and give us the tools to succeed. The culture of Maximus has been so welcoming and nurturing, and we feel really lucky to have been able to work here these past months.

Sara Grace Chan: We would also like to give a shoutout to our amazing Health Talks team members: Yewende Obuekwe, Iza Tyler, Stacy Thompson, Sandra Diaz-Chairez, and Hannah Rowe. They have been essential to the innovation and maintenance of this project. We have been given so many amazing experiences and projects that have allowed us to explore areas of interest and surprise ourselves with new passions we have developed along the way. Working at Maximus has been the most eye-opening internship we have had so far.

Anything you’d like to add?

Hannah Reyes: We hope Health Talks can be a way to celebrate the remarkable things that are currently being done at Maximus while learning from the experts of the topic areas involved. We hope this initiative is just the beginning of more knowledge-sharing across the company.

Sara Grace Chan: We also want to encourage students and new professionals to apply for summer internships with Maximus! There are plenty of opportunities for all professional backgrounds, so there is a role for anyone who is interested in joining the effort of Moving People Forward. Maximus does great work in operationalizing health and human service policies. Joining Maximus is a fruitful way for someone to hone current interests and explore new interests and applications.