Malinthi Fernando, UMass Dartmouth '18, Cooley Dickinson Hospital

'I love listening to people and trying to help them through whatever obstacles they may be going through'

Meet Malinthi Fernando, a rising senior at UMass Dartmouth​ whose passion for helping people has led to a summer internship at the Mass General Cancer Center at Cooley Dickinson Hospital.

As a patient services coordinator, Malinthi ensures cancer patients get the best care possible while waiting for their appointments and optimizes scheduling for chemotherapy patients using a new software system. She said it’s been rewarding to connect with and offer comfort to patients during an especially challenging time in their lives.

“So far, the biggest thing I've learned interning at CDH is that every person is overcoming some kind of obstacle that others won't know about just looking at them externally,” she said. “Cancer patients that I had the opportunity to interact with both here and at Mass General just want someone to talk to, because most of the time they feel lonely going through this. It's great getting to that first-name basis with patients, because they really do become close and form close bonds with you.”

Helping people is something Malinthi does year-round. At UMass Dartmouth, she serves as secretary of Active Minds, a club that helps break down stigmas surrounding mental health issues, and she volunteers at hospice agencies in the New Bedford area. She said majoring in psychology sparked her interest in psychotherapy, and now she hopes to become a psychotherapist for cancer patients.

“I love listening to people and trying to help them through whatever obstacles they may be going through,” she said.

Malinthi said UMass has been integral to her success — from holding internship workshops that gave her tips on standing out as a candidate to teaching her important skills for the workplace.

“My UMass education has helped me immensely by giving me a great background in both academics and social skills through my core classes and different workshops I've attended,” she said. “I utilize all the skills I've learned every day when interacting with patients and coming up with solutions to problems I may face.”

Here are Malinthi’s tips for landing an internship:

“Networking is definitely the best advice I have gotten when asking how to go about landing more internships. If you have a goal in mind, make sure you step out of your comfort zone if you have to and talk to anyone that could possibly help you get the experience you want. Attending workshops that help with interviewing and resume building will help immensely as well.”

Connect with Malinthi Fernando on LinkedIn