Interning at Hillcrest – By: Jasmine Chee

IMG_9852This fall will be the start of my senior year as an undergraduate at Western New England University. I am currently majoring in psychology with a minor in education. With only one year left of undergrad I decided it was time for me to gain some experience in the vast field of psychology to help me decide which career path would suit me best. Most students have trouble deciding what to go to school for, but I have trouble deciding the opposite.

If school was free and aging was optional I would get degree after degree! I am interested in about five different fields of psychology one of those being Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), which Hillcrest conveniently uses to treat their students in the Autism Spectrum Disorder Program (ASD). I originally applied for a summer job at Hillcrest and received an interview with Timothy Johnston, Hillcrest’s employment manager. During our interview, Tim suggested that I consider applying for their internship program in human resources because I would be returning to school in the fall. I was both delighted and surprised to hear about the internship and decided to apply. Once I had been accepted into the program I was asked if I would like to be a part of a split internship instead. This meant I would divide my hours between working in the human resources department and ASD. I agreed right away because it seemed too good to be true! This internship would give me a taste of two different fields of psychology in one summer.

During my time spent at ASD, I was able to shadow the clinicians, sit in on meetings with parents/clinicians, and spend time working in direct care with the students. I even was able to tag along on a joint meeting with another campus to meet a new student and his family. I was able to see the process of student enrollment from start to finish. I especially enjoyed working in direct care with the students because I really got to know them as individuals. It can be difficult as times, but the amount of good moments I had with the students far outweighed the difficulty.

During my time spent in human resources I learned a lot of valuable skills. I was able to sit in on interviews, trusted with new hire references, and another intern and I were even assigned to our own project. Together we worked on laying the ground work to develop an internship program that would take place during the academic school year for college students. We reached out to local schools, drafted program and job descriptions, and we even were able to sit in on the meetings with the program directors of Career Services at each of the colleges. The best part about being included in the meetings was that I saw my whole project through from the beginning to the end. I actually was able to meet the people that I was contacting via phone and email for weeks. Who knows, I may even be able to continue working on this project after the summer ends, which makes this experience more than I could have ever hoped for!

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