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Undergraduates gain experience through Conrad program

By Lin Lofley

Fourteen undergraduate students recently completed a two-month internship at UT Southwestern Medical Center as 2015 interns in the Dr. Emmett J. Conrad Leadership Program.

State Sen. Royce West (second from left) visits with college students taking part in the Dr. Emmett J. Conrad Leadership Program this summer.
State Sen. Royce West (second from left) visits with college students taking part in the Dr. Emmett J. Conrad Leadership Program this summer.

At a late-summer luncheon on North Campus, the interns presented individual summaries of their work in offices all across the Medical Center, and listened to State Sen. Royce West of Dallas, who chairs the program’s leadership group.

Sen. West, who represents Texas’ 23rd District, said he was impressed by the students’ wide range of accomplishments.

“I want to make sure you have the opportunity to succeed,” Sen. West told the students. “And I want to thank UT Southwestern. I can see how much these students have all grown. After 22 years of doing this, you can see how UT Southwestern is taking people and giving them the opportunity to get experience.”

Kimel Hodges, Assistant Vice President for Diversity & Inclusion and Equal Opportunity, welcomed the participants and their mentors and thanked Sen. West for his continued involvement over the years.

 “These are bright, talented students,” Ms. Hodges said before the luncheon. “The intern program has not only provided valuable learning opportunities for the students, but has also served as a pipeline of great talent for the institution. Several students from the program are currently in medical school at UT Southwestern, and others have started their professional careers here, entering into functional positions within the institution.”

Speaking to the intern class, Ms. Hodges predicted big things: “We look at you as our future leaders.”

Members of the 2015 Conrad Leadership Program talked about their experiences on campus, often offering special thanks to the offices and departments that hosted them. This year’s participants, along with their university or college affiliation and UT Southwestern mentor, were:

Destiny Bennett, Abilene Christian University, Sharon Leary, Assistant Vice President in the Office of Accounting; Briana Birdine, Texas Tech University, Dr. Lori Millner, Assistant Professor of Health Care Sciences; Kimberly Elizalde, UT Arlington, Dr. Larissa Velez, Professor of Emergency Medicine; Jasmine Easter, Texas Tech University, Dr. Velez; Carmen Gills, Texas A&M University-Commerce, Ms. Leary; Raven Hill, University of Oklahoma, Regina Walton, Manager in the Office of Human Resources; Gwendolyn Matthews, Baylor University, Dr. James de Lemos, Associate Program Director, Cardiology Fellowship Program, and Professor of Internal Medicine.

Ani Mayo, Howard University, Ms. Hodges; SheBree Mitchell, UT Arlington, Beth Deschenes, Clinical Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy and Orthopaedic Surgery; Kenya Moore, Dillard University, Dr. Velez; Walter Oliver, Harvard College, Dr. de Lemos; Taliah Royal, Howard University, Sandra Hall, Manager in Outpatient Therapy Services, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation; Amari Wells, Hampton University, Dr. Mustafa Al-Arab, Associate Professor of Surgery, Division of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery;  Ryan Woods, Abilene Christian University, Ms. Deschenes.

Sean Reed, a former intern in the Conrad program, and now a senior-to-be at Sam Houston State University, also completed his third summer working in UT Southwestern’s Office of Human Resources.

“Sean has made a strong impression in our office over the course of his summers here,” said Ms. Walton. “He’s been a real asset to our team and has made positive contributions in our front-end office processes. Not only did he work the last three summers, but we looked forward to him returning during the winter and spring breaks.”

Charlotte Williams, Manager of Community Recruitment Initiatives in the Office of Human Resources, said, “Sean continues to add value to the team. He was instrumental in the implementation of our Facebook and Twitter recruitment business pages.”

Emmett J. Conrad, who passed away in 1993 and for whom the program is named, was a renowned African-American physician, civic leader, and education activist. The program began that year with three interns and has continued to grow. UT Southwestern has hosted 178 Conrad interns, and now hosts about 15 annually.


Dr. de Lemos holds the Sweetheart Ball-Kern Wildenthal, M.D., Ph.D., Distinguished Chair in Cardiology.