Katherine Phalen sought out a field experience at the Minnesota Department of Health to gain firsthand experience working for a government agency. She specifically wanted to gain skills in policy research.
Phalen’s project work focused on reducing the burden of skin cancer on the state of Minnesota. Her role centered on UV light exposure, tanning beds, and associated risks, particularly skin cancer.
She researched state legislations than banned the use of tanning beds for minors, and co-managed a video competition geared towards high school students on the dangers of tanning beds.
Phalen had an opportunity to attend several hearings on the new state policy restricting tanning bed use for minors. It was a great coincidence that the bills passed during her tenure were related to her project work.
She notes, “There was doubt as to whether or not the ban would garner the support and attention it needed to advance, so it was a little surreal when I learned of its fate. I didn’t expect to witness something this significant during my field experience.”