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UC Graduate Student Awarded Westheimer Internship

DaNelle Jenkins is awarded a year-long internship with the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati in recognition of her academic achievements and her commitment to promoting health care in the community.

Date: 8/30/2004 8:00:00 AM
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Dottie Stover
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DaNelle Jenkins
DaNelle Jenkins

DaNelle “Nikki” Jenkins, a University of Cincinnati graduate student, is the 2004-2005 recipient of the Robert I. Westheimer Internship from the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati. Jenkins is earning a master’s degree in health promotion and education at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH). She will begin the position on Sept. 7.

The internship is named in memory of the philanthropist whose vision for making health care and health education widely available resulted in the creation of the area’s largest charitable foundation to improve community health. The Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati awards grants to health-related programs in Cincinnati and in 20 counties stretching through Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.

Jenkins is from College Hill and is a graduate of Walnut Hills High School. She started out at UC as a biology major with a focus on pre-medicine back in 1995 and has worked as a research associate in the emergency medicine, psychology and molecular genetics departments. She later changed her major to achieve a bachelor’s degree in psychology (with a psychobiology concentration) and a minor in biology in 2001. Jenkins has also earned an undergraduate certificate in Women’s Studies.

DaNelle Jenkins and Amy Howton in the UC Women
DaNelle Jenkins and Amy Howton in the UC Women's Center

In addition to her master’s degree, she is presently working on a graduate certificate in Women’s Studies and a certificate in domestic violence counseling. Last year, she was the UC Women’s Center’s sexual assault prevention graduate assistant, where she says she underwent intensive training and was instrumental in crisis intervention, advocacy and facilitation of the Sexual Assault Survivor Support Group.

“Nikki volunteered for the Women’s Health Program at the College of Medicine, so she was a good fit for the job because of her health promotion interest and her background in women’s health,” says Barb Rinto, director of the UC Women’s Center. “She is quietly assertive, which is very important for an advocate of someone who has been victimized. Because of Nikki’s style, it was easy for people to open up to her about traumatic issues. We’re so pleased that she is continuing this dedication.”

“I have always had an interest in women’s health issues, particularly in reproductive health,” Nikki says. “Many reproductive illnesses that occur are preventable. My thesis focuses on the human papillomavirus (HPV) and the public’s awareness of it. The virus has over 100 types and is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in the United States. HPV is a risk factor for several cancers of the reproductive system, namely cervical and penile cancers.”

In addition to her other accomplishments in the health education field, Nikki is a member of Eta Sigma Gamma, a national professional health education honorary society.

“Nikki is an outstanding student in our program,” says UC Professor Randall Cottrell, who nominated her for the internship. “She is deeply committed to health education and very sensitive to the needs of others. She is going to make a real impact on the profession and the health of those she works with.”

Nikki’s brother, Derrick, is program coordinator for UC’s Ethnic Programs and Services. He earned his UC bachelor’s degree in African American Studies and is now working on his master’s degree in Educational Foundations with a focus in elementary education. Their youngest sister, Sara, also is at UC, earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology.

“This internship is a perfect fit for me,” Nikki says. “I am excited to learn about grant writing and foundation work from the inside out. I’m really thankful to the people who helped me obtain the internship.”



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