Summer Intern Spotlight: Destiny Wilson
Matching service registries serve as platforms to connect direct care workers with home care recipients (“consumers”) and/or family caregivers. These platforms allow consumers to search for workers (known as “independent providers”) whose skills and availability align with their needs and preferences, while also enabling workers to build sufficient and sustainable work schedules.
In the summer of 2023, PHI was fortunate to host Destiny Wilson, a sophomore from Brown University, as a summer intern focusing on matching service registries. In particular, Destiny assessed website accessibility and user experiences across matching service registries, keeping equity at the forefront of her research. Destiny came to PHI via Brown University’s Careers in the Common Good program, an internship program that enables Brown undergraduate students to learn about nonprofit organizations, start-ups, and public service agencies and enhances their eligibility for jobs in these sectors after graduation.
Jessica King, PHI Research & Evaluation Associate, recently spoke with Destiny about her internship experience, what she learned, and how she plans to integrate this experience into her academic and career plans.
Jessica King: What inspired you to apply for this internship?
Destiny Wilson: I found out about this internship through the BrownConnect program and career lab and what really drew me was that it was “careers for the common good New York City.” I’m from New York City, and I’m very interested in equity issues, specifically regarding the long-term services and support (LTSS) industry, because that is a field in which equity is a big issue. In addition to that, I was driven to apply because it was policy research.
Jessica: What are some things you learned that you’ll be carrying forward with you as you return to Brown this fall?
Destiny: One of the main things I learned was how long policy research takes, so as it pertains to Brown, I’m more knowledgeable on the research process, and the different perspectives you have to take into account when doing research. For example, there were some questions I didn’t think to ask, but Lina posed them. [Lina Stepick, PHI’s Senior Research & Evaluation Associate, was Destiny’s internship supervisor.] You have to take different perspectives into account and that then influences your research. You have to be very open-minded in the research process.
Jessica: Definitely. Relatedly, how does this internship fit into your academic interests?
Destiny: At the beginning, I expressed to Lina that I was specifically interested in user experience and user design within the field of computer science. Through this internship, there were many opportunities to explore that. My analysis of matching service registries and PHI’s matching service registries’ database website focused on design questions, specifically: How would someone older and/or not tech-savvy navigate this site? How would someone with limited time navigate this site? And, is there any consistency between the matching service registries? This internship gave me the opportunity to really adopt the lens of someone working in user experience and design.
I also had the opportunity to communicate with Irma and learn how technology is applied in research. [Irma Rivera is PHI’s Director of Data & Technology.] This was something that I’ve always been curious about. I know tech is ever-evolving across multiple different industries, but learning about its role in PHI through my internship was really valuable.
Jessica: What was your favorite aspect of the internship? Least favorite?
Destiny: My favorite aspect was being able to integrate my interests into the internship. There was also really great communication between me and everyone, especially Lina as my direct supervisor; I was able to express anything. I also felt like there was a lot of flexibility. My least favorite part was the remote nature of the internship. Though I was able to communicate with people over Zoom and Teams, I would have liked to meet some more people in person.
Jessica: What are your top three tips for a future PHI intern?
Destiny: First, prioritize good communication. Specifically, be vocal about your interests and how you can tailor the experience. Second, time management is key. Make sure you dedicate the appropriate time and focus to what you’re doing, whether it’s between 9 to 5 or on some other schedule. And third, have patience with the research process and how time-consuming it is. It can be a little bit discouraging to not be able to find the material that is necessary to complete the research that you’re doing. But even if you’re not able to find something, that is a takeaway in itself and you can reflect on that. The process itself is something to take away as well.
The findings from Destiny’s research will be integrated into a full update of the matching service registries catalogue on the PHI website, to be completed this fall. Please contact Lina Stepick at lstepick@PHInational.org if you have information about a new or existing matching service registry in your state or locality to share.