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Geleen works towards reducing obesity in at-risk populations – San Diego Prevention Research Center

Updated: Mar 3, 2020

Geleen Antonio is a Physiology and Neuroscience (’12) major. She began as a pre-med student but realized wanted to do more in terms of helping a bigger population vs individual patient care. Thus began her global health minor. After graduating this June, she hopes to get a fellowship in public health for the CDC.

For her project, she worked in Kearney Mesa for 1.5 years (but there is no limit, but must work at least 6 hours a week). The organization is San Diego Prevention Research Center Familias Sanas y Activas. This program aims to decrease obesity risk in the Latino communities of the South San Diego region through physical activity. It does so by providing free exercise and healthy lifestyle classes to the community.

Find out about the organization here! ( &

Geleen shares her experience:

I worked with the project manager and I began doing evaluation. My typical routine would be to go to the office and communicate with the project manager about what the priorities were for the day. I did a lot of work in the office, setting up files, creating protocols, creating documents for use in the field and for marketing purposes, research on pub med, etc. I also began working in the field helping with measurement events and administering surveys and consent forms to participants. I helped host health fairs and helped them recruit more participants. I called those that spoke English and reminded them of their appointments. I was able to gain skills in working with SPSS, ACCESS, Accelerometer programs, Excel, and Publisher. I also published an article in El Latino newspaper.
One of the greatest challenges I had was not being able to speak Spanish. I was still helpful in translations because I had taken Spanish courses and I used Google Translator/asked for help when I could not understand a particular word/phrase. I think that the environment was very important. I currently work for the SDPRC and I feel that everyone who works there really wants to help you succeed. They have written me many recommendations and have been my reference for many jobs I’ve applied to.
In my free time I spoke with the other interns about their career prospects or I spoke with the project managers and asked them for advice.
Outside of the project, I am writing a research proposal on how to apply SDPRC’s FSA model for the Filipino American community in San Diego for my class (TWS 198).

What she has to say about her program “Great internship with possibility of a paid position. Everyone is very caring and willing to give career advice. The PI’s are very accessible as well.”

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