Throwback Thursday: Meet NFHC Alum Sam Kwiatkowski
Samantha Kwiatkowski was a North Florida Health Corps member during the 2012-2013 service term! She served as a Health Educator at the University of Florida Center for HIV/AIDS Research, Education and Service (UF CARES).
What did you do after AmeriCorps and what are you doing now?
Immediately following my AmeriCorps service term, I accepted a position with the Florida Department of Health in Clay County as a health educator. Specifically, I work under the Ryan White program and provide health education to our HIV-infected patients, provide HIV testing services for all clinic patients, and also conduct HIV educational outreach within the Clay County community. In addition, I provide support to the current AmeriCorps member serving at the health department with her activities that involve educating local teens on various health issues.
How did AmeriCorps benefit your future goals, in the job field or academic world? What skills did you gain from your year of service?
Shortly before beginning my year of service, I received my Master of Public Health (MPH). Although I did have experience in the field teaching sexual health education, as well as several years experience in academic research, I felt as if I was lacking the “real world” job experience that I needed. My service term with the North Florida Health Corps definitely filled that void and gave me the opportunity to educate patients in a clinical setting, which I had never done before. My knowledge of HIV grew immensely, and I was even able to become certified as an HIV testing counselor. The job I now hold utilizes all of the skills and knowledge I gained through my host site experience, as well as several trainings I was able to participate in as a member of the Health Education Training Coalition.
What is one piece of advice you would give to a current/future NFHC member?
My advice to current and future NFHC members is to take advantage of as many of the great trainings and service opportunities offered to you, and to remember to incorporate them into your resume. You really never know when they will come in hand; one of the trainings that I listed on my resume helped me get the job I have now, and it wasn’t even mentioned as a requirement in the job description!