Interning at Hillcrest – By: Kelsey Ryan

Kelsey RyanIt is impossible to know if you are making the right career choice until you have had the opportunity to experience it. The Hillcrest Educational Centers Internship Program provided just that. Starting off my college education I was not sure if I wanted to take the psychology or business route. As a matter of a fact I still am torn between the two. Fortunately Hillcrest allowed me to split my internship working alongside business development as well as spending time at the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) campus.

My first initial thought was that I would be sending emails and making copies, but my time with the Business Development office was more than I could have expected. I was afforded the responsibility and opportunity to contribute to the growth and production of Hillcrest. On the first day, my supervisor, Mike Supranowicz, showed how thankful he was to have me on board to work alongside him on his summer research project. Throughout my time here I was carrying out an extensive project on the current state of Adult ASD Programs. I worked vigorously to create a finalized research report. I got a great deal of experience working with the ARC map computer program and learned just how much it can do. Upon finishing the research project I will be presenting it to, Jerry Burke, the president of Hillcrest Educational Centers. This gives me the feeling that my time here was important and that I made a positive contribution to the Educational Center.

Arriving at the ASD campus I wasn’t sure if it was going to be a place well suited for me. But, as soon as I hit the floor, the staff treated me with the utmost respect and helped me grow every step of the way. The director, teachers, supervisors, teaching assistants, clinicians, and nurses collaborated together as a team and made decisions based on each others concerns. Their dedication and passion was something that amazed me more each day. I was not treated as an intern who was getting in the way, but as another team member. They trusted me with the responsibility to work one-on-one with the students and to assist in anything that the campus needed. Being granted the opportunity to get a hands-on experience with Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) taught me more than any college course or textbook ever could. The students at the campus are truly who impacted me the most. Through the various interactions I had with them, I learned a tremendous amount about how to work with students with ASD. The most important outcome I gained from this experience is that success is measured by the amount of positive impact you bring to the world, not the amount of money you make.

Overall my experience with Hillcrest Educational Centers was one that I will never forget. Hillcrest Educational Centers has helped reassure me that I am headed in the right direction. The knowledge I gained is something that I will take with me while I further my education. I am more than thankful for the opportunity I was given to work with such a great organization.

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