Public health internship leads to winning grant proposal, full-time job upon Purdue graduation

Written By: Angela Zickmund

Nina Fowler in cap and gown

Nina FowlerPhoto provided

When Nina Fowler began her undergraduate internship at Legal Aid Corporation of Tippecanoe County, she never dreamed she would write a grant proposal to the Indiana Bar Foundation to fund a major project in Tippecanoe County nor that her internship would lead to a full-time job upon graduation.

One graduation requirement of Purdue University’s undergraduate degree in public health is to complete a nine-credit-hour capstone project. The hands-on, 400-hour internship provides students the opportunity to apply what they have learned in the classroom to solve community health issues in an organization. Each student is required to complete a project that benefits the organization.

Fowler chose to intern at Legal Aid because the work combined her passion for integrating public health and law. At the start, her goal was to gather data and statistics on evictions and eviction filings in Tippecanoe County and to educate tenants and landlords and increase their awareness of resources. She began her research by attending eviction court twice a week and collecting data on the details of each hearing. She then tracked the data via spreadsheets and charts to make the information easier to interpret.

In February, Fowler’s supervisor, Luisa White, JD, informed her of potential grant funding geared to help alleviate the housing crisis and lower eviction filings in Tippecanoe County. Fowler dove headfirst into writing the grant proposal, using the research she had compiled. In May, Legal Aid received notice they had been awarded the 18-month grant.

Today, Nina works at Legal Aid, administrating the grant she wrote.

“I always knew I wanted to go into a field where I felt like I was helping people or making a difference in their life, and I feel like that is exactly what I have been doing,” Fowler said. “I feel like I am making a difference, which is an amazing and gratifying experience.”

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