Health and Human Development

Office of Rural Health renames internship in memory of former student

The Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health (PORH) has renamed its internship program in memory of Jennifer Cwynar, a 2008 alumna of the Penn State health policy and administration program, who served as a PORH intern in the summer of 2008.

Cwynar died on Jan. 6, as the result of injuries sustained in a traffic accident near her home in Turtle Creek, Pa.

The Jennifer S. Cwynar Rural Health Undergraduate Internship Program exposes Penn State undergraduate students to the unique health care access, affordability and quality issues facing rural Pennsylvanians. The internship gives students the opportunity to research rural health policy and legislation; assist with the planning of a statewide rural health conference; and participate in meetings with key state, regional and national rural health policymakers and stakeholders.

During her internship, Cwynar completed an analytical compilation of health insurance issues at the state level and assessed their impact on Pennsylvania’s rural communities.

“Jen was a bright and engaging young woman who had plans for a meaningful career in public health. We feel very fortunate that we were able to help guide her in that direction and are very pleased to be able to honor her time in our office by naming the internship program in her memory,” said Lisa Davis, PORH director. Jennifer’s passion of helping others continued even after she passed away, as she donated her organs to help save lives.

“Jen was a wonderful student and on her way to a great career helping others. I was not surprised to see that she was already volunteering her time as a mentor for Penn State students," said Dennis Shea, professor and head of Penn State’s Department of Health Policy and Administration. "Keeping her memory and inspiration alive for other students in this way is a perfect tribute to her by the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health.”

Students interested in learning more about internship opportunities should contact PORH at 814-863-8214.

Jennifer Cwynar, a 2008 alumna of the Penn State health policy and administration program. Credit: HHD Alumni and College Relations / Penn StateCreative Commons

Last Updated October 17, 2019