PIIE Scholarship Internship at Women’s Health Center Reinforces Recipient’s Desire to Pursue a Medical Career

PIIE Scholarship Internship at Women’s Health Center Reinforces Recipient’s Desire to Pursue a Medical Career



Ramya Palaniappan

University of Colorado, Boulder 2015 Public Interest Internship Experience (PIIE) scholarship recipient Ramya Palaniappan’s experience working as Development Event Assistant at the Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center was transformative and may prove to be life changing. Ramya, a senior Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology major who will receive her Bachelor of Arts in May, 2016 applied for a scholarship through the Casey Feldman Foundation to be able to intern with a non-profit organization that provides accessible health care to lower income families. With newly gained insight into how medical centers can provide integrated and holistic approaches to health care, especially in ob/gyn and women’s health, along with a greater awareness of the part that advocacy and social justice play in our complex and expansive health care system, Ramya believes she will pursue her career in this public interest area.

While learning many new skills and enhancing her general experience in the non-profit arena, Ramya felt it was a privilege to work in a positive environment which preached the value of “empowerment for all individuals.” Raised by a single parent with a sibling in medical school, who is paying her own way through college, receiving the scholarship enabled Ramya to plan for her future, including taking the MCATs or GREs, applying to graduate or medical schools and travelling to investigate post graduate opportunities.

During her internship Ramya worked on substantive projects including Condom Couture solicitations, public speaking on the Center’s work in women’s health as well as the specific health care issues confronted by the population served by the Center. She participated in a Women Powering Change conference and researched how organizations create inclusiveness so that the community the Center seeks to serve can have its needs met. She also conducted grants research and constructed a patient survey.

Ramya learned an enormous amount about women’s health and its position in the social and political realm in the United States. In fact, the experience was so impactful that she will continue volunteering at the Center. While the internship focused on the development side of the organization, with her deepened understanding of the impact of health on individuals, she believes she will seek a career after graduation in the medical field relating to reproductive health and women’s issues.

The Public Interest Internship Experience for students at The University of Colorado Boulder began in 2005 and provides students with  paid summer internships at a government agency or non-profit, organizations that may not otherwise be able to provide compensation. The Casey Feldman Foundation has funded one student per year since 2010, following Casey’s death in 2009.

PIIE 2015

Ramya Palaniappan (center) with past PIIE Casey Feldman Foundation scholarship recipients, Colin Mayberry (L) – The Nature Conservancy, 2013 & Dylan Mark – Boulder Valley Humane Society, 2012 at the Feldman home in August

Related Links:

I Have a Dream – “This was the best and most beneficial summer of my life”   (Ellie Roberts PIIE 2014)

PIIE Scholarship Recipient Aids Non-Profit Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center (Lynette Schweimler PIIE 2011)

PIIE Awards First Casey Feldman Memorial Scholarship (Mercedes Ruiz PIIE 2010)

Gail Roth is an attorney with Bookspan Family Law in Radnor, PA.  Having also experienced the traumatic loss of a loved one, Gail  focuses her practice on helping clients move through difficult transitions and building happier futures. She is a former colleague of Casey’s father, Joel Feldman.