Hikma Salhe ’20: Together For West Philadelphia

Name: Hikma Salhe
Class Year: 2020
Major: Psychology
Hometown: Philadelphia

Internship Organization: Together For West Philadelphia
Job Title: Summer student researcher
Research Site: Lankenau Hospital
Community Immersion Site: Lewis Cassidy Elementary Plus School

What’s happening at your internship?

I have spent this summer working as a summer student researcher at Together for West Philadelphia, a nonprofit organization. Their main goal is to provide a holistic approach in servicing the public health issues that affect the west Philadelphia area by partnering with Main Line Health. This initiative is incredibly important as it works toward resolving the disconnection between the communities that live on either side of City Ave., both in their social and health realms.

Why did you apply for this internship?

As a rising senior, I knew that I wanted to spend my summer working with an organization in a field of my interest. TOCFWH and TFWP are not only in the public health field but they also serve a community and demographic that sits close to my heart. As a West Philadelphia native, I’m aware of the many issues and troubles that strike the area. However, through this experience I was exposed to an ever deeper look at the issues (e.g. statistics, person-to-person interactions, etc.).

What has been the biggest challenge you have faced at your internship?

A huge part of my internship was centered around the reports we wrote and submitted every week about our specific zip codes. Each week there was a different category of assessment (e.g. qualitative assessment, zip code history, etc.) that we had to research. I very quickly found that it is incredibly easy to find heartbreaking statistics and facts that fit the narrative that has been built around marginalized communities. However, I knew that the aim of this project wasn’t to weave a similar story, but instead it was to create a community narrative that would uplift the community while still addressing pressing issues. Even though it was difficult to reframe how I approached the statistics, it was an incredible learning experience for me academically and mentally.

Was this internship what you expected it to be?

This internship was everything and more! I was a little hesitant going into it; I just didn’t know what to expect. However, it was the most rewarding experience I have ever gotten the privilege to be apart of.