Center for Community Engagement

Internship Postcards: Adoma Manful '12

Adoma Manful

August 2011—story by Jenny Morgan, photo courtesy of Adoma Manful '12


Adoma Manful ’12’s internship with the American Cancer Society-Illinois (ACS) in Chicago, Illinois, was not her first time immersed in the field of healthcare.

This summer, 150 students interned in twelve states and thirteen countries around the world through the Center for Community Engagement’s summer internships programs. Each day this week, we’ll share a different internship postcard. Today's postcard is from Adoma Manful '12, who interned with the American Cancer Society in Chicago, Illinois.

In high school, Manful devoted an entire summer as an emergency room volunteer in a small hospital near her hometown of Accra, Ghana: observing surgeries, assisting in the maternal ward— basically, helping anywhere she could. This summer, Manful was intentionally seeking an opportunity that would allow her to work with and for patients, and the ACS’s dedication to patient care was a real draw. “[The ACS] really goes the distance. They do anything and everything they can to get the patient the care s/he needs.” Manful is one of two Amherst College interns at the ACS this summer, which comes as no surprise. The ACS is a perennial favorite for Amherst interns—in part, it’s the ample availability of hands-on experience in research and advocacy— but it’s just as much about the wonderful working relationship interns share with alumna Adrienne White-Faines ’82, vice president of health initiatives and advocacy.

 Manful explains that the ACS “really tosses you in there and gives you exposure to everything.” She’s juggled writing scientific assessments of recent ACS-Illinois grants; coordinating a pilot study on early detection of colorectal and breast cancers in low-income and uninsured populations; and contributing to a three-year feasibility study on establishing state-wide early detection programs. Coordinating the pilot study allowed Manful to see firsthand “what it takes to get somebody who is not insured or documented the care they need in the health care system that America has set up.” When asked, she’ll tell you that what it takes is “a lot of running around and a lot of persistence—and a willingness to compromise.” Manful has loved the challenge of both figuring out the systems and working within them. “This internship is calling on all sorts of other skills I have.” An accomplished artist and sculptor, Manful’s artistic talents are also part of her skill set, and she hopes to combine her two passions for art and health by one day designing and making facial prosthetics. Because Manful is certain she’s not bound for medical school, the ACS internship was “a nice way to see a different side of medicine. I am still working with patients, but I am not the doctor.”

Stay tuned for tomorrow's postcard from Christine Lyons '12E, who interned at the Literacy Project in Ware, Massachusetts. You can read all of the internship postcards here.

Jenny Morgan is a staff writer for the CCE. She welcomes any questions or comments at jmorgan[at]amherst[dot]edu.