Staff Interview Series: Aileen So

This blog post is a part of the YTH Staff Interview Series, where we are featuring an in-depth Q&A with each member of our staff. Today, we’re chatting with Aileen So who is joining our team for the summer as an intern.

Aileen is a graduate of Dominican University of California, where she received a BS in public health in 2016, after completing a thesis centered around food insecurity in college students. Since then, she’s been working for various health organizations around the Bay Area, including Marin County Health and Human Services and Huckleberry Youth Programs. She was also a member of our YTH Live 2017 program committee and volunteer at the conference, prior to joining our team. I spoke to Aileen about her experience working in public health, the projects she’ll be working on during her internship, and why she decided YTH was the place for her to bring her talents.

 

ERIN: Welcome to the YTH team! Tell us, why YTH? What made our organization stand out to you in your job search?

AILEEN: Thank you so much! I actually heard about YTH through my previous internship at Huckleberry Youth Programs, towards the end of my time there. Molly Pilloton, YTH’s Youth Innovation Program Officer, was working on some crossover projects. My preceptor recommended that I connect her, which is how I became aware of YTH.

I really liked the focus on improving the health for young people, by working directly with the population. I ended up being a program committee member for YTH Live as well as volunteering at the event before becoming a summer intern. Throughout all of those experiences, it was clear how intentional and dedicated YTH is with their projects and service to young people.

ERIN: You have a lot of experience in the areas of youth health, as some of your previous work experience includes interning with Huckleberry Youth and conducting PrEP surveys through Marin County’s Health and Human Services department. How has your background in public health informed your professional goals?

AILEEN: As with most things in life, you only really find out what you like and dislike by trying as much as you can! Thankfully, I haven’t flat out disliked any public health-related work I’ve done, but I’ve definitely realized I’m more passionate about some projects than others, especially those where I can work directly with the population, while also being a part of the larger picture behind the scenes. At YTH, the organizational culture is total #goals. Their leadership, people-first approach, open communication, and the way the organization fosters an inclusive environment around all forms of expression and identity are all on point.  I’m thoroughly digging this experience so far and it’s helped me realize what I value in a workplace.

ERIN: What projects will you be working on during your time with YTH? What are you most excited to learn more about and why?

I will be supporting several projects! YTH Live, Engage, Marketing & Comms, DIY, Cybergirl, to name a few, as well as researching grants. Overall, I’m excited to see how YTH implements youth-centered health design throughout their projects, as well as what really goes into creating a technology based approach to better health. The creation aspect of seeing all of the pieces being put together is all new to me and is very exciting to learn about.

 

Have further questions about they2ze? Stay tuned for our next blog, a primer on pronouns.

Want to know more about designing with youth? Chat with our program staff, Molly Pilloton, Program Officer of Youth Innovation and co-author of the national report TECHsex, and sign up for our newsletter for more youth-centered health design thinking and tips.