Will March ’22 is a light within the Merrimack community. With positions in Residence Life, the Austin Scholars program and our very own O’Brien Center, you’d be hard-pressed to find another student as well-known or involved. This winter, Will took a chance and reached out—he cold-emailed Enara Health, and was quickly offered an internship on their team! Today, he joins us to discuss his role at Enara, the internship struggle of “Covidian times” and the guidance he’s received from Merrimack.
WILL MARCH: Hi Dan! This winter, I was able to intern with Enara Health this past December through February. Through my role, I took on a variety of tasks and projects. Some highlights: working on an Affordable Healthy Eating Guide for patients on the Health Plan of San Mateo, a government plan that allows low-income residents to use health services at no cost to them; an Eating Out Guide for Illinois patients following a very low-calorie diet; and working with data tracking for Enara’s muscle gain program.
Those seem like interesting projects! I’m glad you got to take on actionable projects, and I’m sure they’ll benefit Enara’s patients. How did you find this position?
I had originally heard of Enara and their services back in the early months of quarantine. I had read an online article saying how they had taken all their services online, and the piece highlighted the company and all they offered. I had really liked what I read about the company and their mission. When it came time to secure an internship for the winter, I was googling “nutrition practices near me.” I’m originally from Chicago, so when Enara Health’s Orland Park office popped up, I thought “what are the odds, I didn’t even know they had an Illinois office!” I reached out to them on their Facebook page and sent a cold email explaining who I was, and what I was hoping to get out of an internship with them. Their Director of Dietetics, Danielle Cortez, reached out to me and the rest was history!
Finding an internship for the winter was quite stressful; I won’t sugarcoat it. I had no idea who was hiring, who was in-office, or what the job market looked like during “Covidian times,” as my pathophysiology professor likes to put it. Working in the O’Brien Center for Career Development definitely helped with this. I have worked so closely with the staff there for the past two years, and I was able to have such great conversations with them, and to apply the knowledge and tips I’ve learned through working with them as colleagues to my internship search.
I really like the phrase “Covidian times,” to be honest; it feels right. That’s awesome that you got such a good response from cold emailing them! For readers unfamiliar with the company, Enara’s mission statement says that they aim for “…an audacious goal for 2024—to help 10 million people lose 400 million pounds, and keep it off for good.” How does their mission align with your values and goals as a young professional?
What a great question, Dan! As a nutrition major and a blooming health professional, their mission is one of great importance. When we think of losing weight, it’s not as simple as that. In America, we currently face an obesity epidemic, and at every turn we are provided with unhealthy options. What I love so much about Enara and working with them is that 400 million pounds is not just a number to them. It is about the people and the stories behind those numbers. Working with the team and patients, both directly and indirectly, allowed me insight into the multiple layers when it comes to weight loss. There are spiritual, mental, physical, environmental and emotional aspects. It is not as simple as telling someone to eat this, not that; there is so much more that goes into it. As a health professional, you have a strong sense of empathy and compassion—every provider and staff member on Enara’s team had that, and always went above and beyond.
It’s clear how passionate you are about your work—you’re going to be an amazing health professional, and I’m glad Enara has been able to match your energy and commitment. What hard skills are you developing that feel specific to this internship?
This internship allowed me to get a better insight into patient counseling, which is something I haven’t had experience with before. There are different facets and layers when it comes to counseling patients, and through the different dietitians, I was able to get a better idea of what kind of provider I hope to be. I also got a better idea of what it meant to collaborate with a team, specifically relating to the health field. Enara’s team has excellent communication and collaboration skills, which shows how dedicated they all are to their mission.
Finally, Will, as we wrap up—do you have any shoutouts, highlights, or advice for other students?
Of course, I have to shout out some amazing people! I’m not sure where to start. I obviously want to shout out my awesome supervisor, Danielle Cortez; she was nothing but amazing, and I was able to learn so much from her. I’m so thankful to have worked with her and Enara’s team. Also, I would like to shout out the other providers and staff members at Enara who took me in as one of their own, who were always so kind and personable with me. I would also like to shoutout my boss at the O’Brien Center! Ashley Archangelo has been such an inspiring mentor, and once again, I’ll always be thankful she took a chance on the kid with a seven-page resume! I would also like to shout out to my mom and my roommates. My piece of advice would be: always keep your head up and cast a wide net, you never know where it will lead you.
Are you ready to secure an internship or employment for the fall and beyond? The O’Brien Center for Career Development is here to help you! Visit Handshake today to search for open opportunities, meet with your career advisor, and more.