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As I reflect on my summer internship with the Children’s Melanoma Prevention Foundation, I know MNN 1I will embark on my journey as a health educator and future nurse with a new and evolving tool kit. Below, I have listed just a few tips I learned throughout the summer. I have gained valuable experience during the twelve weeks I spent connecting with healthcare professionals, educating members of the community on sun safety, and representing CMPF.
1. Always lead by example.
I struggle to always live a SunAWARE life. I enjoy the warmth of the sun beating on my shoulders. Because of this, I don’t always appreciate and welcome the shade. While educating individuals about proper sun protection, I tell them to seek shade. Exhibiting and educating outdoors without shade, sends the wrong message. I am becoming more aware of caring for my own skin while teaching individuals how to protect their skin.
2. Wear many hats. Be prepared to adapt when necessary.
I recall the first presentation I did on my own. I was prepared for very small groups (2-3 people at a time) to come up to me to learn about proper sunscreen application and sun safety. When I arrived, I found out that I was going to be doing a presentation in front of 20 lifeguard and park staff. I was not prepared and very nervous. After providing the staff with a bumpy sun safety training, I left learning a valuable lesson. Always be prepared for anything and have a backup plan. I spent the rest of my internship building my confidence as an educator by preparing for presentations and creating back up activities.
3. Always have fun.
I enjoyed interacting with members of the community while working with the SunAWARE education team. By using the UV camera system and making the events interctive, individuals were engaged and had fun learning about proper sun safety tips.
4. Remember, wearing sunscreen doesn’t have to stink.
Growing up, I would often opt out of wearing sunscreen if I wasn’t outside for a long period of time because I hated the smell. While exhibiting with CMPF, much to my surprise, I found a sunscreen that actually smells great! Now I apply sunscreen every day. It is important to find a sunscreen that you enjoy wearing.
5. Education is the key to prevention.
Through my summer internship, with the guidance of CMPF staff, I taught individuals at farmers’ markets, schools, pools, and beaches. While I provided them with information on how to prevent sun damage and skin cancer, the prevention continues when they educate those they love about what they learned at CMPF events.

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