Hats off! Cleveland Clinic Louis Stokes Internship celebrates its first cohort of graduating seniors

Not every high school junior can knowledgeably drop terms like “reiki” and “acupressure” into conversation, but thanks to her summer internship, Ashley Hayden can talk Eastern healing modalities with the best of them.


Ashley HaydenFor the last six weeks, the John Hay Early College rising junior has been interning with the Cleveland Clinic’s Healing Services department through the Louis Stokes Internship Program (LSIP). She’s one of 61 interns taking part in the program this year—and one of 11 students who hail from the Fairfax area across all four of the Clinic’s internship programs.


“I wanted to see what it was like inside of the medical field and what types of careers could combine my interest in art and love of taking care of people,” shares Hayden, who got the opportunity to shadow art and music therapists, chaplains, and holistic nurses during her time at the Clinic.


This is Hayden’s second year participating in the LSIP, which honors the legacy of late Congressman Louis Stokes. During his 30 years on Capitol Hill, Stokes devoted much of his time and effort to healthcare access, and “was committed to the advancement of STEM education for low-income, first-generation, and minority students, like himself,” says Angela Cain, director of internship programs for Cleveland Clinic.


That ethos formed the inspiration for the program, which the Clinic first launched in 2016 in partnership with PNC Bank. Open to high school students residing in Cleveland and East Cleveland, the LSIP gives participants an up-close look at the business-related and non-clinical areas of healthcare via paid internships at Cleveland Clinic.

Students are also matched with a mentor caregiver to "guide
 participating students through their internship experience by providing project work and other experiential, on-the-job learning opportunities," according to Cain.


This year’s program kicked off on June 17 with a leadership camp facilitated by Effective Leadership Academy—focusing on skills including networking, time management, growth mindset, and team communication. The camp also included financial literacy sessions offered by PNC Bank and a welcome address by Brett Hammond, Stokes’ grandson and current Magistrate of the Summit County Juvenile Court.

Students spent the remainder of the program working within 18 departments across the Clinic—from functional medicine to patient transportation to government and community relations. For Hayden, that meant the chance to work within both the Center for Spiritual Care and Healing Services departments over her two years of participation.

"It's not easy being a patient or having a loved one in the hospital, and during those stressful times, they can call on Healing Services," says Hayden, who says one of her favorite assignments was updating the Clinic's database of local churches.

Like Hayden, many students choose to return for multiple years and deepen their learning experience with the Clinic. "Our goal is for students to start when they're in the ninth grade and matriculate or be invited to come back to the program year after year," says Cain.

Next week, Hayden will graduate alongside the 60 other LSIP participants on Friday, August 2. Part of the ceremony will include a presentation in which each student will showcase a poster they've made to share their big takeaways, goals, and on-the-job experiences. The ceremony will also mark the LSIP's first cohort of graduated seniors who first began the program in 2016.

Ashley Hayden's poster

Alongside the LSIP students will be those graduating from the Clinic's other internship programs:

  • Healthcare+ Pathways (a three-week experience for rising high school freshmen from under-represented groups within the healthcare profession)
  • Northeast Ohio Research Education Medicine Alliance, or NEOREMA (a collaboration between the Clinic and Kent State University that provides a four-week internship in clinical healthcare to rising high school sophomores from under-represented groups)
  • Science Internship (a nine-week program for Northeast Ohio-based rising high school juniors and seniors interested in STEM careers).

The success of the LSIP program pays fitting tribute to Stokes, who attended public schools in Cleveland and earned the Lifetime of Service Award from Cleveland Clinic in 2015. Says Cain, "The goal of the [LSIP] program aligns with the Congressman's vision to make students job-ready in a safe environment."

This article is part of our On the Ground - Fairfax community reporting project in partnership with Fairfax Renaissance Development Corporation, Cleveland Clinic, PNC Bank, Greater Cleveland Partnership, Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, and Cleveland Development Advisors. Read the rest of our coverage here.

Read more articles by Jen Jones Donatelli.

As an enthusiastic CLE-vangelist, Jen Jones Donatelli enjoys diving headfirst into her work with FreshWater Cleveland. Upon moving back to Cleveland after 16 years in Los Angeles, Jen served as FreshWater's managing editor for two years (2017-2019) and continues her work with the publication as a contributing editor and host of the FreshFaces podcast. Along with her work at FreshWater, she is the editor-of-chief of Edible Cleveland and a contributing editor for Destination Cleveland. When not typing the day away at her laptop, she teaches writing and creativity classes for Creative Groove, Literary Cleveland, Cleveland State University, and more. Jen is a proud graduate of Ohio University's E.W. Scripps School of Journalism.
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