Mott Family Network

Location: Ann Arbor, MI

Jessica Hirsh

Major: Computer Science '19

I currently work as the Senior Intern for an internship program with the Mott Family Network. My program is focussed on bringing assistive technology to the patients at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, and it is an interdisciplinary effort between University of Michigan’s College of Engineering and Eastern Michigan University’s College of Education. The melding of the two schools and disciplines allows us to bring multiple perspectives and expertise to each project we face, especially as each of us have a strong background in our respective fields.

One of the best parts about this internship is that I can see the tangible benefits of my work via various projects inside and outside of the hospital system. Inside the hospital, we are partnered with Rehabilitation Engineering, and we work with the engineers to evaluate patients on their assistive technology needs. We also help facilitate physical/speech therapies by providing patients with technology for motivation and independence. Additionally, we work with the hospital’s Child Life department to provide immersive Virtual Reality experiences bedside with the patients. Outside of the hospital, we are developing an adaptive sports initiative, including adaptive kayaking, sailing, camping, and skiing, to provide patients the opportunities to experience activities that wouldn’t normally be able accessible to them.

Furthermore, I was able to develop my own projects to fit my major, Computer Science Engineering, and my interests in web and app development. I chose to partner with the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Ann Arbor, and I created a new website for them to meet changing corporate standards and ADA compliancy requirements. I am also creating an app for the new families of the house, so the families can get more familiar with the Ann Arbor area and feel more at home in their new surroundings.

I’ve really enjoyed the autonomy that this internship has given me, as well as the leadership role of being the Senior Intern to five others. Prior to this experience, I wasn’t really sure which area of Computer Science I was most interested in, but now I have a much clearer understanding of the therapeutic application of technology. I am very excited to continue learning more about assistive technology at my internship throughout this summer and into the school year.