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Abby Ferraro balanced the work load of her final semester as an undergrad while wrapping up a very impactful pre-PA internship at ACR.

Attends: Senior at University of Minnesota- Twin Cities

Major: Biology, Society, Environment major, Public Health minor

Career Path:  Pre-PA


“I originally applied to ACR with the intent of doing an internship and started my Direct Care Professional Training in March. I liked that I could complete research about something that I was interested in, with the flexibility that I needed as a college student.

Exploring Passions 

I was born with one kidney, so I have always taken kidney health really seriously and I try to drink a lot of water. Since that was a topic I have always been passionate about, I was really excited to pursue the impact of water consumption with a resident I work with who is diabetic. I looked at promoting her water intake. Overall, I compared fluid intake as a whole with fluid intake of Crystal Light and fluid intake of water. I then compared how water, crystal light and total fluids impacted the resident’s blood glucose.

Making an Impact 

At the conclusion of my research, I found that fluid intake decreased blood glucose on average across the board. This relationship was very significant overall and much stronger for water than Crystal Light.

During internship seminars and my presentation with owner Jim Nelson and COO Gene Leistico, I was really shocked at how interested they were in my research. I didn’t think it was that novel—I thought it was a pretty simple concept. We’ve now met multiple times since my presentation so that we can make sure that information I found and brought up can be shared across the company so that other diabetic residents aren’t defaulting to Crystal Light without realizing the impact on blood sugar. Since presenting, I’ve also continued to learn more about glucose and I wasn’t aware that maltodextrin from Crystal Light can be worse than pure glucose on the glycemic index scale. I hadn’t previously realized that you can be taking in the same amount of carbohydrates, but the substance can be different. This may have a large impact on blood glucose. (See Abby’s Internship Comparison Chart for Diabetics HERE! )

Benefits of doing an Internship 

Not only have I learned a lot academically, I also feel really connected to ACR. I’ve done everything across the board now as a Direct Care Professional, an on-campus recruiter, and an intern and I feel really passionate about my work at ACR. This passion will be evident in my future PA school interviews. This experience also facilitated a connection between the resident that can be mirrored in a career as a PA. You can develop deeper connections with the people you’re working with while advocating for them, and that’s all really cool.

Advice for Future Interns 

Choose something you’re passionate about! Also, find out if you can get class credit, depending on your major. I ended up getting my Senior Capstone done alongside my internship, so look into that option. This semester I took a 1 credit course and got paid as a Direct Care Professional while also fulfilling credit for that course.”


Owner and CEO Jim Nelson met with Abby many times throughout her internship and states:

“Abigail shows a wonderful approach to medicine and treating people as individuals. I’m so impressed with the work she completed and so grateful she brought this topic to our attention so that her internship can impact more than just the one resident she set out to advocate for.”

Thanks for your hard work and for making a difference, Abby!