New York Internship Helps Communication Junior Explore Health Advocacy

Communication junior Tyler Kramer started working as a youth mentor for kids with diabetes when he was 14. He and his parents toured the country, hosting support groups for other kids living with the condition.

When Kramer turned 18, he started a diabetes support group program for adults all on his own. He made his own travel arrangements and booked his own appearances, which helped him to meet representatives from pharmaceutical companies.

His work at a young age sparked his interest in health advocacy—an interest Kramer has continued to explore in college.

During the summer of 2015, Kramer worked as a marketing and communications intern for JDRF International, a nonprofit organization and the leading funder of Type 1 Diabetes research.

Kramer did of bit of everything at JDRF; he managed the internal newsletter, worked with JDRF’s state chapters, wrote stories and assisted the public relations director.

He first heard of the internship through an organization called Students with Diabetes. The group runs a program which helps connect students with pharmaceutical companies, nonprofits like JDRF, and more.

Kramer got three calls back after sending in his application. He chose to go to New York City and intern with JDRF.

He packed his bags the day after his birthday in May and flew out to New York. His family was with him for the first week, but after that he was on his own.

"I’d never really been to summer camp or away from home for more than a week, other than being at school," Kramer said.

As a part of his internship, Kramer kept a blog detailing his adventures.

He lived in midtown Manhattan at 23rd and Lexington. At first, Kramer found it challenging to adjust to city life. But he got the hang of it quickly as he and his fellow interns wandered out and explored the city.

"From the day I heard I got an offer, I made a list of 200 things to do, places to eat," he said. "I tried to mark off as many things as I could do in a day."

Kramer was paid a stipend at JDRF, but it didn’t cover all of his expenses. The Sven Kins and the Joe Patrick Communication Arts & Sciences Internship Awards helped pick up the rest of the tab.

Kramer said his is internship with JDRF gave him a glimpse into how nonprofits work at the national level. It also provided him the chance to explore the health advocacy field, something he plans to keep pursuing.

This summer, Kramer is headed to Chicago for an internship with Livongo Health—a company that develops tools to help patients manage their diabetes.

"Having this internship and getting a feel for different cities will open the doors to even more things," he said.