Branching Out with Research

The summer internships that the Cleveland Clinic Office of Civic Education Initiatives offers to high school students last nine weeks – nine weeks of hands-on activities, intensive research, and observation. However, that experience doesn't stop after the nine weeks are through. As the years pass, interns are being offered more and more venues to showcase and share their research with others – from fellow high school students to healthcare professionals.

Creating Beyond the Clinic

For the first time, two Cleveland Clinic interns have been given the opportunity to expand their horizons, along with the reach of Cleveland Clinic, by completing their internships at a separate business. Cleveland Clinic is a client of Wyse Advertising and Optiem Web Design, and Creative Learning Interns Leah Backo and Liz O'Neill were stationed at these companies for their summer internships. They maintained a solid link to Cleveland Clinic by completing projects for the Office of Civic Education Initiatives, and were also given the chance to learn more about the work Wyse and Optiem do for Cleveland Clinic and their other clients. Here they share their stories about working for the Clinic, away from the Clinic.

Liz O'Neill

Creative Learning, 2009


When I first started working for the Cleveland Clinic in the Creative Learning Internship Program (CLIP), I wasn't really sure how art had anything to do with medicine. It seemed to me that the things I was good at, like video game design and illustration, were light-years away from things like open heart surgery and disease diagnosis. When I was assigned to work off-campus at a web design company called Optiem, I was thrilled by the opportunity, but even more confused about how this had anything to do with medicine.

My project, however, soon cleared this up. Last year, CLIP Intern Leah Backo designed and produced a children's book called "From Jump Ropes to Microscopes." The aim of the book was to teach elementary school children that medical professions consist of more than just the universally known "doctor." As I read through the book, I realized that this really was an important lesson – that all healthcare, well known or not, was important. And what better way to share it with kids than with art?

My job is to take the book and turn it into an interactive video game on the internet. Along with doing all the artwork for the game, I work with other aspects like project management and marketing. In this way, I've learned a lot about the way web design and ad agencies work. Communication is one of the most important aspects of a job like this. A project can't move forward unless you stay in good contact with your team and work together to keep things running smoothly. Like the interns working at the Clinic, I have an entire business functioning around me, but it's a completely different kind of business.

I've learned that, in both healthcare and design, the most important thing is doing a good job for your clients and making sure they get what they ask for. Learning and teaching are equally important in both, and I think the best kind of education is a mentored internship like this one. I've had fun since day one working at Optiem, and I know the experience will only get better.

Based on the children's book "From Jump Ropes to Microscopes" created in 2008, this interactive web story and game gives children the opportunity to learn about the many opportunities available to them in healthcare. To play, click here.