Hi, I’m Marlene Karaky, and I’m thrilled to be the Executive Intern at Juniper Village at Brookline this summer! I am a recent Penn State graduate with a degree in Health Policy Administration, and am currently pursuing my Master’s degree in Public Administration.
During my undergraduate studies at Penn State I focused on geriatric care and had an opportunity to do an internship in Connections at Juniper’s Wellspring Memory Care building. When I first met my mentors, Connections Director Kaitlin Hoover and Executive Director Liz Plozner Chalfa, I was impressed by their dedication to both residents and staff, their enthusiasm, and their overall work ethic. Juniper’s mission and vision is to “nurture the spirit of life”. That is a phrase I heard multiple times throughout a given work day and saw in action. Having no prior work experience with dementia care, it was a very eye-opening time for me. However, I immediately fell in love. Each resident had a story to share with me. Each resident impacted my career in ways no textbook ever could. I began to truly understand the Juniper ways and how each day I could impact someone’s life for the better.
In my prior internship at Wellspring, I had direct contact with the residents. I enjoyed working along with the Connections department to generate new activities and ideas for the residents. In order to grow in my experiences; however, I knew I wanted to learn more about policy and regulation in the senior living industry. Continuing with Liz as my mentor, I am excited to learn new management techniques and tools to help guide me. I think there is a difference between a manager and a leader. Anyone can be a manager but not everyone can be an effective leader. Understanding the fundamental difference between how to lead and how to manage your team is what I enjoy about working with Liz. Her energy is contagious and I can’t wait to work alongside her and the leadership team at Juniper over the next 8 weeks!