Greetings! My name is Michael Pupi and I am a rising junior studying chemistry and participating in the New Orleans DukeEngage program. I arrived in New Orleans last Friday and have been working as an intern at Children’s Hospital New Orleans for about a week. This is my first time in the city of New Orleans and I have had an incredible time exploring the city with the other students in my DukeEngage cohort. We have enjoyed the local culture by attending events such as the Oyster Festival, the Creole Tomato Festival, and a cooking class at the New Orleans School of Cooking. I have tried new foods, listened to good music, and gotten a better sense of what it’s like to live independently and cook for myself.
Working at Children’s Hospital New Orleans has also proven to be a new and rewarding experience. I was very nervous to begin my first day for a number of reasons. For example, I had never worked a 9 to 5 job before, and I really didn’t have much experience working with young children in a hospital setting. However, I can say after a week that I think I am starting to get the hang of things. Everyone I have worked with at the hospital has been incredibly friendly in helping me get started and they are all a pleasure to work with. I’ve been helping out with a few different projects at the hospital, including organizing a volunteer program for high school students in the summer interested in careers in medicine.
The part I have enjoyed most is simply getting to spend time with patients and families. The people of New Orleans have shown themselves to be remarkably friendly and welcoming, even in the midst of very difficult situations. I am looking forward to meeting more people and continuing to build relationships with staff and patients as the summer goes on.