Brittany is a 3rd year student at George Mason University, where she has earned a three-time dean’s list standing, studying health administration. She currently works as a substitute teacher and has a passion for working with special education students. She works as the YouTube channel manager, is part of the graphic design department and supports the VA’s Borne the Battle podcast as a coordinating producer. In her free time, she enjoys participating in GMU campus activities, cooking, reading and exploring the Washington, D.C. area.

Brittany first discovered the DME internship in 2020 when her friend recommended that she apply. Originally, her internship search was geared toward the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, but after working on a school project about health administration, she learned about a woman who worked for Veterans Affairs. The story inspired her to pursue this internship, and she uses what she has learned in health administration to help the VA.

One of her most fulfilling projects is working on the Borne the Battle podcast. She loves sending new episode emails to partners, hearing the inspiring stories, and learning how it allows listeners to reflect on their own lives. She is also grateful for the personal connections she makes from working on the Veterans of the Day.

In her future career, Brittany hopes to work with the VA in some capacity using her degree in health administration. On the whole, she has found the DME internship extremely fulfilling so far. She says it is perfect for COVID, as the work is virtually-based and the many communication channels have allowed interns to feel as though they are part of a community. Her advice to future interns: this opportunity is what you make of it. She encourages them to reach out to other interns, collaborate with others, help out other departments, and hone your skills however you can.

Use the audio player to listen to Brittany’s full interview, or read the transcript below: https://anchor.fm/dme-podcast/episodes/Brittany-Gorski-e1bbevd

TRANSCRIPT

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(Serena Aguilar): Hello and welcome to DME Interns Podcast. I’m your host, Serena Aguilar, and I hope you’ll join me in learning about DME interns, what they do and what they hope to do in the future.

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(Serena Aguilar): Hello, everyone. My name is Serena and today we have Brittany Gorski, the YouTube channel manager with us today. Brittany is a third-year student at George Mason University, studying health administration and is a 3-time Dean’s List standing student. She currently works as a substitute teacher and has a passion for working with special education students. Having recently joined the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs DME as an intern, she is part of a graphic design department and also supports the VA’s Borne the Battle podcast as a coordinating producer. In her free time, she enjoys participating in GMU campus activities, cooking, reading, exploring the Washington D.C area and spending time with friends and family. Brittany, how are you doing today?

(Brittany Gorski): Great. How are you doing?

(Serena Aguilar): I’m doing pretty good, not liking this weather, not going to lie.

(Brittany Gorski): Yeah, me too, it’s kind of eerie today.

(Serena Aguilar): I know, and I just don’t like the snow. I’ll be honest. Too cold. Okay. So Brittany, could you tell me a little bit about what you do on the DME team?

(Brittany Gorski): So, like you said in my intro, I do work with the BTB podcasts. I love what I do for them. And I am the YouTube channel manager. Though as of right now, since work is still like, as trying to, I guess they’re more or less trying to figure out what to do with the YouTube channel right now, since it’s fairly new. I do a lot of work with the graphic design teams. So I do things like Veteran of the Day graphics. I’m working on doing a Veteran Story graphics. What else… Oh, America 250 graphics. So as of right now, a lot of my work pertains to working with BTB and doing graphic design work.

(Serena Aguilar): That is still pretty cool. Do you guys have any plans? What’s the plan for the YouTube channel for the Borne the Battle podcast?

Is it going to be like normal podcast’s YouTube? Is it gonna be like featurettes?

(Brittany Gorski): So I know for, well, pertaining just for YouTube, for the BTB podcast, I know that with that, they already just kind of record all of their podcasts episodes that they do, and they publish on that. And I think technically DME has like a totally separate YouTube channel that they’re trying to get up and running that I think. I don’t know they just had it made like this year, but I’ve seen some ideas go, like in and out and I’m hoping soon we’ll get some of that stuff up and running. Cause I’ve seen some awesome like ideas from other interns.

(Serena Aguilar): We’re doing a lot of new stuff this year. Really cool. So how did you find this internship?

(Brittany Gorski): I actually found it in 2020. And I remember, I think my friends sent it to me and she’s like, this looks like something you should do. And I was originally kind of geared towards doing like health and human services stuff. And working with like those departments that are more geared towards health. But then I did a project for a class actually that was more about health administration. And I learned about this woman who works for Veterans Affairs named Carolyn Clancy. And her story was just really inspiring and how she uses what she’s learned in health admin to help the VA. And I was like, Hey, I could just try to apply to the VA and do an internship with that and just see how it is. And so far, I love the work that I do. So, I didn’t get in, in 2020, but I did in 2021. And I love it.

(Serena Aguilar): Yeah, there are so many different BSFs projects and there’s so many, but there’s also like within the V.A D M E there’s so many different things that you can do.

(Brittany Gorski): Oh, yeah.

(Serena Aguilar): Like, last time I talked to somebody from web development, Rajiv, and I was like, this is awesome. Like, this is amazing. So, there’s so many different kinds of subsets and way to, there’s so many different ways to contribute. Like no matter what your background is. It’s amazing.

(Brittany Gorski): Yeah.

(Serena Aguilar): So what has been a favorite project of your so far? I know you talked a little bit about graphic design. Has it been maybe one of those or something with the YouTube channel?

(Brittany Gorski): So, I think my favorite ones so far have really been with BTB as well as, the VODs. Yes. I love both of those. And I think for Borne the Battle, I just, even though I’m not necessarily an integral part in like putting or  making a podcast, what I do is, I will send like new episode emails every Monday out to their partners. And it’s just hearing what some of these stories are like, generally, inspiring. Sometimes they make me think about how I can make my life better and use the stories of the Veterans that they interview. And then with Veteran of the Day, what I really love about that is how even some of the Veterans that I’ve heard of, again, like they’re so inspiring, but also some of them were like, they kind of hit close to home when they like genuinely make you think about life. And it’s just like really wonderful to be a part of it. Like, I even done a few where interns who work for DME have suggested like Veterans that they know. And then after we finish some of the graphics, they’re like, oh, thank you, this is beautiful. And it’s just like, really, I’m just grateful to get to work on these.

(Serena Aguilar): How do you find the Veterans of the Day? I know you said that sometimes interns will suggest them, but are there other channels that you use?

(Brittany Gorski): So, so far, well, other than other internals, like, suggesting, I guess people in their family, maybe people that they know in their community, I haven’t personally submitted any yet. But I know that there are certain websites that you can go to. And so far, well, really so far how I’ve really done is, I’ve just kind of joined Trello cards and I read about them and all their stories are just so cool.

(Serena Aguilar): Okay. That is really cool. It’s a lot of personal connections.

(Brittany Gorski): It definitely is.

(Serena Aguilar): So what, what kind of skills would you say that you have maybe gained during the course of this internship? Or are there any skills that you feel have sharpened throughout the course of this internship?

(Brittany Gorski): I’d say like communication skills have sharpened and definitely Photoshop, because before this I never used Photoshop. And it was, I mean Photoshop is a great skill to have, and it’s like, there is a little bit of a learning curve to it, but once you get the hang of it, it’s just, it’s really not that hard, but that was something I had never had to use before.

And it’s just, it’s great that I know it now. And it makes my job with doing graphic design a lot easier too.

(Serena Aguilar): Yeah. And Photoshop is a huge thing to put on your resume.

(Brittany Gorski): Yeah. It’s a really great skill to have.

(Serena Aguilar): Okay. That’s pretty cool. So with, how have you seen the skills outside of the internship? Like whether that is in a different type of work environment or like maybe in class you’ve seen a bit of a difference, throughout the course of this internship.

(Brittny Gorski): Well, so I can’t really necessarily speak for my graphic design skills, cause I haven’t really had to use those and anything I’ve done yet outside of this internship. But as for my communication skills, I just feel like I’ve gotten better at communicating with my peers. Especially like if I have to do a group project in one of my classes, I feel like my communication skills gotten better. And I just like more, I guess, proactive at doing things. And I’ve just, I don’t know. I feel like getting into a routine with doing like, DME work just kind of helps everything else. And especially in what the communication side of things. I’m just, I feel like I’m a bit more like professional at it and better at it.

(Serena Aguilar): That is pretty good to hear. I know, personally, it’s just been so much easier to talk in front of people now that I’ve gotten this experience.

(Brittany Gorski): Yeah, no, having, I think the practice just doing it all the time, it makes it a lot easier.

(Serena Aguilar): Oh, definitely. So, and I don’t mean to scare with a talk of future career, but how do you feel like this internship is kind of helping any future career goals? Like maybe that, maybe your career goals completely changed because of this? Or maybe they kind of solidify? Talk to me a little bit about that.

(Brittany Gorski): I mean, I think, I would love to get to work for the VA in some, well, whether I’d love to get to work with them in general, but hopefully someday in some capacity where like I’m using my degree in health admin, then it would be great if I could one day like transition, just knowing that like I was an intern for the VA and then I could one day work for the VA doing that. And then also, I just feel like this has been a really great experience, because with COVID now, like, especially, even if I were to like, have a job in the future, who knows if I would ever get to, I guess, talk to other like colleagues and stuff, but it almost feels like, especially when we’re on Slack, almost like it’s a little office, like it’s a virtual office. And I love that.

(Serena Aguilar): I absolutely love the little coffee memes that people send in the morning. There’s so cute. And it feels like such a good community. Like for me personally, I’ve only ever done remote internships.

(Brittany Gorski): Yeah.

(Serena Aguilar): So, this, but this internship… so much more communication, like so many more people to just chat with.

And I meeting, like, people like you who have completely different stories than me. And it’s awesome hearing your guys’ stories.

(Brittany Gorski): Yeah, it’s such a great experience.

(Serena Aguilar): What’s kind of a last thought, lasting impression that you might want to give to anybody who’s listening right now.

(Brittany Gorski): And I think, well, I definitely think that this internship is what you make of it. You can either like try to reach out as much as you can to people and like communicate with others. Or, I mean, if someone really wants to do, they could just stick to their work. But I think just having, especially because the DME internship has set up in a way where it’s really not hard to reach out to other interns and to make friends and to collaborate with others. So, I’d say definitely if there’s anyone who is even a current intern or they’re someone who is thinking of becoming a DME intern, it really is what you make it. You can try, you can try to help out with other departments and broaden your skills that way. You can just try to talk to other interns, even if it’s like nothing related to the internship at all. Like, I love our pet pics channel on Slack. That’s so fun to have. It’s just, I feel like it’s really like perfect that way, especially with the communication part, that it just it’s more than just like an internship.

(Serena Aguilar): Yeah. That’s a good point to make because it’s friends that you make and it’s so nice.

(Brittany Gorski): And it really makes the experience better.

(Serena Aguilar): Yes, it absolutely does. The pet pics channel is amazing. I love it so much. And I’m sorry, I have to take the credit for it because me and Dom were talking about it and I was like… Hey, would you mind if I made this channel?

(Brittany Gorski): Yeah, because I think, cause, so there’s this one picture. Okay. There’s like two or three pictures that I just remember, cause they’re so cute, but I think it was one of your pictures, where it’s like this little dog almost looks like a little, like, old chihuahua. He’s like, howling. Oh, my God. That’s a cute picture. I love that picture. He’s so cute. I’m like, this is just so great. And like, what another internship has that? Like, I feel like not as many.

(Serena Aguilar): I’ve never, it’s always like, you always see like baby pictures but, like, I want to see pictures of people’s dogs and cats.

(Brittany Gorski): I know, me too. I know. And sometimes people have like rabbits or other things and this great.

(Serena Aguilar): It’s like, whenever I see the little highlight on there that shows that there’s like a new message or something I’m like, show me. Right now.

(Brittany Gorski): I know, me too.

(Serena Aguilar): It was so nice talking to you, Brittany. I’m glad that I was able to like, schedule this interview with you and kind of talk to you a little bit about your part within the internship and within the VA. So, thank you everybody who listened, and I’ll see you next. Bye.

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(Serena Aguilar): Thank you so much for listening, please don’t forget to subscribe. And if you could give us a five-star rating, we’d really appreciate it. For more information about joining the DME interns’ team, please visit https://www.dmeinterns.org/. You can also follow us on our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn. Once again, my name is Serena and I hope to see you all next time. Bye.

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