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The Lab School of Washington
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Kayla McCreadie

Major: Psychology
Hometown: Philipsburg, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I found this experience listed on Network Symplicity through the Penn State College of the Liberal Arts Career Enrichment Network.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

This summer I interned as a group leader at the Lab School of Washington, which is a private school in Washington D.C. that specializes in working with children who have learning disabilities. In the morning, I had a group of 12 boys, aged 9 and 10. In the afternoon, I had 4 girls and 2 boys, aged 5 and 6. Throughout the day, I was in charge of transitioning each student to class, providing emotional support during class, and creating structure within the group. In addition to this, I helped the reading tutors administer fluency tests, helped an Occupational Therapist gather data on a specific child, and taught children how to swim during PE. Each morning, I had to wake up at 4:00 am to get on a commuter bus from Maryland to Washington D.C. to get to the school on time. In total, I was commuting around 6 hours each day on a bus. Even though this was exhausting, I know that I am in the right field of work because my exhaustion was forgotten as soon as I saw the kids in the morning.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience was great for better understanding how to communicate with children in general. At this internship I worked closely with children who had ADHD, learning disabilities, and general behavioral problems - it was interesting to apply what I have learned in my developmental and clinical psychopathology classes to a real world setting and see progress happen right in front of my eyes. For example, there was one child who would not get in the swimming pool initially, but by the end of the program, she was swimming back and forth on her own. In a different class, there was a child who would not finish his reading assignments for anyone, but finally did after I sat down with him, and we worked through it together. Learning how to individually speak to the children will be beneficial to me in the future when I am working in a clinical setting.

It was interesting to apply what I have learned in my developmental and clinical psychopathology classes to a real world setting and see progress happen right in front of my eyes.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I plan on going to graduate school to get my Ph.D in Child Clinical Psychology. This experience once again confirmed that I enjoy working with children and, as stated earlier, gave me a better sense of how to effectively communicate with children. This experience also provided me with the confidence and skill set necessary for a new experience I will have this fall semester. I will be interning at the Soaring Heights School in State College that specifically works with children on the autism spectrum. I feel more prepared to work here after my time at the Lab School, and I am sure that these experiences will make more prepared for my future as a professional Clinical Psychologist.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would recommend this experience to students who are interested in a unique population of children, as well as working with an amazing team of teachers and staff at the Lab School.

For more information on internships for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.
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