Ruben Velasco ’17 (accounting) spent the summer in Washington, D.C., in a financial analyst role at the National Institutes of Health, one of the world’s leading biomedical and public health research centers.
For most students and graduates, internships provide an opportunity to move beyond familiar surroundings and develop skills, grow their network and explore potential career paths. For Mihaylo accounting alumnus Ruben Velasco ’17, a summer internship took him to the nation’s capital, where he held a financial analyst role at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nation’s leading federal medical research center, in Bethesda, Maryland.
Velasco obtained the internship through the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), which supports internships with federal agencies for students and recent graduates.
Reducing Student Loan Burdens for Health Science Researchers
While working at the NIH might conjure up images of a medical laboratory environment, Velasco’s position involved financial administrative tasks.
“The primary role I had in this organization involved reducing personal student loan financial burdens so researchers can focus on improving global health,” says Velasco.
“As a financial analyst for the Division of Loan Repayment, I reviewed financial documents from applicants with various backgrounds and career levels who are seeking loan repayment in exchange for a commitment to non-profit health research. Not all applicants are able to reach the financial document review step. I was glad to be able to help these researchers get closer to the funding they need.”
The Mihaylo Experience Sets the Stage for a Capital Internship
While a student at Cal State Fullerton, Velasco held a student assistant role, was chapter executive vice president for the Accounting Society and completed a corporate internship for the City of Fullerton. He says these roles were invaluable experience for his internship at NIH.
“Learning to interact with different personalities and having customer service experience as a student assistant was a big help in the office,” he says. “I also owe a lot to my leadership role in the Accounting Society, for it was there that I learned to step outside of my comfort zone as an introvert and develop a new persona that is charismatic and confident. These previous roles showed me how valuable it is to have good communication skills, which helped my job satisfaction, fostered the feeling of empowerment, and projected a positive and professional presence.”