IT Presents to Wahitis Elementary in Othello

"I had the distinct honor of speaking to 4th, 5th, and 6th grade Wahitis Elementary students about my profession here at CBHA. I got the chance to try and instill some of the lessons that I wish someone had told me when I was growing up and didn’t see at the time. It was an interesting dynamic to be on the other side of the table as a teacher rather than a student. Their teachers took me aside after the presentations and said that they hope the students follow in my footsteps, to which I felt a confusing but warm sense of reassurance. I hadn’t thought of myself as someone who had been through enough to make a big enough impact on people’s lives quite yet because of my age, but it’s rewarding to hear that people believe I have footsteps worth following.

Each group of students was so attentive to what I was saying and always had their hands up for questions! Most of the time I didn’t even get to show off the slides I had prepared! This however gave me the chance to adjust my presentation more to the questions that were the most relevant to what they go through on a day-to-day basis. Some of the questions and comments that I took from the students sounded way beyond their age, which shocked me in the best way possible. I could tell that this wasn’t just another presentation to them, but that they were getting what I was telling them and wanted to know more.

I gave each group of students a peek into what IT as a profession entails, focusing on what a typical day in the life looks like for me and my team. I emphasized how important technology is to providing quality healthcare, and will only get more important as time goes on. More than that though, I decided to spend most of the time telling them how I shaped my hobbies and own passions into my community college and university education. “There is no one right path to get where you want to be” I told them. Above anything else, you should always invest in yourself and in the things that make you excited to get out of bed in the morning, because you will never regret doing what you love, but will always regret not taking that chance. Even if you hear 1,000 “no’s” in your journey to get that dream job, each one can turn into a “why” where you can learn what to do better next time. All it takes is one “yes” and you’re set. You will always learn more from a “no” than a “yes”.

I took this chance to try to present some of the industries that I didn’t learn were a thing until way too late. Luckily, most, if not all of the students were interested in STEM, so it was all music to their ears! I had the teachers AND the students taking notes, which was fascinating! I even brought along a prior project of mine: a motion sensing robot named Giuseppe, and he came out when I felt that maybe I might be overwhelming them with info.

My experience has been a series of firsts. It began in 2017 when I became one of the first IT interns that CBHA had ever had. I started off learning from scratch, which felt a bit intimidating at first, but every member of not only IT, but the entire CBHA organization welcomed me with open arms and an open mind. Right off the bat I started poking at everything that my colleagues were working on, often coming in earlier and staying later than expected. We are a small team so there’s never a shortage of work to do.

It was during that summer that I realized I wanted to continue being part of the team, which is why for the following summer I came right back! I came in feeling comfortable and familiar with the work and staff so I immediately felt more like a part of the CBHA team.

During this internship round, I was unsure where I’d land in the future because I was wrapping up my degree, so I made it a priority to make connections with CBHA staff and try to make my mark on the organization on the off chance that I could come back for a full-time job! I am a firm believer that providing quality healthcare isn’t a single department’s responsibility but rather has to accommodate for people and technology.

Healthcare IT is often seen as one of the most far behind sectors due to the complexities that it has to account for with people’s data, but throughout my time here, I am proud to be able to say that CBHA has been pushing the boundaries of healthcare IT, and even more proud to say that I get to play a key role in those advancements.

There isn’t a system within CBHA that doesn’t fall under the IT umbrella, which enables me to interact with every department and think through problems in their terms. I would recommend to each and every student that I presented to that CBHA is an excellent place to gain experience and learn!

All in all, it was one of the most rewarding experiences I have had the luck of being a part of. I truly felt that I made an impact in their lives for the better, and I would happily do this again anytime!" - Sebastian Torres