Hi Everyone! My name is Thalia Rivero, and I am a senior and first-generation psychology major. My background is one of my biggest motivations in my career and personal life. I am originally from Cuba and my family moved here when I was fifteen years old. The fact that I had to learn English and figure out the school system on my own at such a young age reflects what I believe is one of my biggest strengths: perseverance. I have always had to go the extra mile and face hardships that other students with previous college background in their families probably didn’t have to face. When I transferred to UNC-Chapel Hill, I knew it was going to be a tough change academically and personally, but I created a plan that I knew I could achieve if I kept my focus and perseverance.
Acceptance to the Gil Internship was part of my plan even before my first semester here. When I applied to the Gil Internship, I had a lot of doubts of whether I would be accepted, mainly because of my limited time here at UNC. To my surprise, the interview and selection process went better than I expected, and I was thrilled to accept their invitation to become part of the 2021 cohort. However, it was truly during the matching process that I really understood the quality of this internship and the dedication of the people directing it, especially Chelsea Ewing and Dr. Buzinski. It felt great to be an active part of this important decision, and to see how they took into consideration all my requests. They really made this process as easy as they possibly could, and it ended up being more of a ‘love at first sight’ type of story.
As a result of such a great match, I am currently interning at NC Maternal Mental Health MATTERS. This program supports primary care providers in effectively screening, assessing and treating behavioral health concerns in pregnant and postpartum patients, primarily women. The main goal is to share resources on perinatal mood disorders, that way, OBGYNs, pediatricians, social workers and more specialists can properly advise their patients on this matter. Consultation with NC MATTERS results in an exchange of resources that many providers are not trained in; in addition, patients can be referred for a one-time visit with the program’s psychiatrist.
Working as an intern in this program has enriched my undergraduate experience in a way I did not imagine. My tasks and responsibilities reflect the level of seriousness with which Gil interns are taken. My duties include creating resource packages to distribute to patients, as well as personalized resources for specific cases, contacting providers all over the state to promote the services that NC MATTERS offers and much more.
So far, what I have enjoyed the most is attending talks, discussions and meetings regarding women mood disorders, gender inclusivity in these types of services, and case conferences discussing a wide variety of patients across the state. It has been amazing to experience the efforts of the medical field to provide pregnant and postpartum women with the best possible experience, though sometimes it is extremely hard.
By far, I can say that the best part of this internship has been working with incredibly talented people, both in my worksite and in our shared weekly time as the Spring 2021 cohort. Every time I log into a Zoom call, I know I will meet professionals that are passionate about giving mothers the assessment and treatment they deserve. I am also thrilled to be working with a population that I hadn’t had previous experience with, and soon I will start to attend live therapy sessions with real patients to further strengthen my clinical experience before I leave UNC. Lastly, through this internship I have met my fellow Gil interns, who motivate me in ways I really did not anticipate. I have gotten the possibility to meet a group of bright young professionals that I know will succeed wherever they end up going after UNC.