Mallory Benortham - Masonic Cancer Alliance intern
Mallory Benortham didn’t know work could be so much fun. A biology major on a pre-med track at Fort Hays State University, Benortham is enjoying herself while traveling the state this summer.
Her responsibilities as an intern with the University of Kansas Cancer Center in the Kansas City area include traveling to public swimming pools around Kansas, teaching sun safety to lifeguards, who in turn give safety tips to young swimmers. The program through the Masonic Cancer Alliance is called “Pool Cool” – a sun safety education program designed to increase awareness and promote sun protection behavior.
When Benortham – a biology major with minors in chemistry and psychology – began seeking a summer internship through FHSU’s office of Career Services, she was intrigued by “Pool Cool,” knowing it would be a good opportunity to learn even more about the health profession.
Taking advantage of opportunities is something to which Benortham has become accustomed after hearing about Fort Hays State at an admissions event for another state university her senior year in high school in Topeka.
She admits that she didn’t know much about “a university in western Kansas” back in 2018. Still, the fact that a representative from another state institution talked about Fort Hays State intrigued her. Now, she wouldn’t trade her time at FHSU and looks forward to her senior year before pursuing a physician assistant master’s degree.
“I thought that was interesting that (the counselor) mentioned Fort Hays State as a really good school, so I looked up information on FHSU, booked a visit to campus, and came out in one day,” Benortham said. “On the ride back home, I knew I was coming to school here.”
Benortham was drawn to the small class sizes at FHSU, where she could interact with professors and classmates on a personal level. She is confident that her program of study at FHSU has prepared her for the next step of her career. And she has been able to develop a close relationship with her advisor, Dr. Medhavi Ambardar, assistant professor of biological sciences.
“I really look up to my advisor,” Benortham said. “She’s a professional woman in science, and people take her seriously. That gives me hope that people will take me seriously as a woman in science.”
Benortham also embraces ways to get involved on campus. She decided to research Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Ellis County when a sign on campus featuring BBBS caught her eye.
"Had I not checked that out, I wouldn’t have thought of volunteering in that kind of way,” she said. “Now, I have joined the organization, and when I’m in Hays, my ‘little’ and I get breakfast every single Sunday. It’s been a rewarding experience for both of us.”
I am a content specialist at FHSU, and storytelling is part of my DNA. Those close to me say I was born talking and that I haven’t stopped since! Writing began at a young age for me, and my entire professional career has been spent putting words down on paper. My passion for telling stories has taken me many places over the years, and some of my most memorable moments have been covering Tiger Nation. I am a Tiger through and through. My entire family – my husband, our two sons, and I – all attended FHSU, and we will soon have four degrees in the family when our youngest completes his MBA. I am honored to spread the great news of Fort Hays State by telling the stories of our Tiger family – students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of the university. God bless, and go Tigers!