Summertime Standouts: College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

Parker Lewis, biomedical sciences

Parker Lewis taking a selfie with other medical volunteers
Parker Lewis (left) with other medical volunteers in Zambia.

Sometimes opportunity knocks on the door, sometimes it’s simply a flier on the door.

Parker Lewis, a senior majoring in biomedical sciences, was looking for international medical experience and the chance to leave the U.S. for the first time this summer. After Google searching left him stranded in an Internet labyrinth, Lewis made an appointment at Colorado State University’s Education Abroad services.

A flier advertising a medical volunteer position in Zambia for the summer hung on the door, and Lewis applied the first day applications opened.

He boarded a plane in May to spend the next 22 days in Livingstone, Zambia. As a medical volunteer for African Impact, Lewis spent the majority of his time touring around neighborhoods as a home-based care medic.

“We would go from house to house, which were usually made of concrete or compacted mud, and offer light medications and wound care for people who needed it,” Lewis said.

Lewis bandaged wounds in medical wrap, and worked in crowded clinics supporting nursing staff by taking vitals and filling out medical records of admitted patients.

In the afternoons, Lewis and other volunteers taught classes to the Livingstone community, including math and reading club, adult literacy, girl empowerment, and HIV education.

“I tried to emulate my [CSU] professors that made me interested in learning,” Lewis said. “When I was teaching, I really tried to engage the class.”

Lewis’ interest in medicine began when a middle-school accident landed him in the emergency room. “I overestimated my athleticism and tried jumping into the back of my dad’s pickup truck,” Lewis said.

Twenty-two stitches later, Lewis knew he wanted to go into the medical field. “The doctors in the ER were actually able to make me laugh and really made the whole experience a lot easier.”

Nearly a decade later, Lewis’ volunteer work in Zambia further reinforced his interest in medicine, and inspired him to seek more international medical work opportunities.

“The best part of helping people is being able to observe the healing process and knowing that they’re better off,” said Lewis. “I’m the kind of person who worries about things if I don’t do anything to make changes, so being able to go out and make a small difference in the Livingstone community was really rewarding.”

Bailey Shaw, environmental health

Bailey Shaw standing in front of an airplane
Bailey Shaw

How does Denver International Airport keep its employees safe each day? Ask Bailey Shaw.

Shaw, a senior majoring in environmental health, is interning with the airport this summer to learn more about occupational health and safety, and no two days are alike.

“My internship is extremely diverse,” Shaw said before listing 25 different tasks she’s accomplished in the seven weeks she’s worked at one of the world’s busiest airports.

Shaw’s primary internship project is to develop a site observation safety audit database. In other words, she visits each department at the airport, identifies the most hazardous jobs employees face, and works with the department to record proper safety protocol for those jobs.

Sound like a big job? It is. So big that Shaw has toured the airport six times, and still has not seen most of the 53 square miles of land the airport sits on. Denver International Airport was selective in its hiring process.

“I found out there were over 60 candidates who applied for my position alone,” Shaw said. I feel so grateful because I couldn’t imagine a better fit.”

An annual environmental health networking event organized by Shaw’s advisor, Erin Reichert, gave Shaw the opportunity to connect with one of the airport’s sustainability analysts, who gave her a recommendation for the internship.

Shaw chose to major in environmental health as a precursor to veterinary school, until she began taking classes and realized her passion for the field, which is the study of the chemical, biological and physical factors in our environment that positively or negatively impact human health.

“I guess it was the holistic approach of helping people and the environment simultaneously that really spoke to me,” Shaw said.

She appreciates the work ethic she’s developed at CSU now that she is applying it professionally. The heavy coursework and long nights in Morgan Library helped Shaw feel better prepared to handle any professional setting, she says.

The airport keeps Shaw busy. She has helped organize employee appreciation events and safety meetings, created an emergency preparedness station, and completed first aid and CPR trainings.

“My job here is all about helping people and ensuring that they have a safe and healthy work environment so that they can return back home to their families at the end of the day. It really doesn’t get much better than that.”