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Social Enrichment Center
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Marissa E. Wegfahrt

Major: Psychology
Minor: Biology, Deafness and Hearing Studies
Hometown: Jamison, PA

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I was working with children who had autism, ADHD, or Down Syndrome. Throughout the internship I assisted the staff with treatment sessions, cleaning the toy rooms, general office duties, and coming up with activity plans. Each day was slightly different with new issues arising, such as activities not going exactly as planned or a child acting out. I learned a lot about not only how treatment for autism and childhood disorders is progressing, but also how the staff continue to change their means of treatment to fit each specific child. The children were being taught ways to control their anger, make new friends, and improve upon their schoolwork. It was an enriching experience that helped me move closer to my future career goals.

How did this experience impact you academically?

Academically, by earning credit for this internship, I was able to read many research articles and write a cumulative term paper about different treatment options for autism spectrum disorder. This challenged me to ask questions of the staff members at my internship and to reach deeper than simply going about the day with the kids. I had to question each behavior and how we would treat it specifically. Also, this experience made me realize I do not necessarily want to focus on autism in my future endeavors. Through hearing about some of the children’s stories and past patients, I discovered that childhood trauma is a topic I have great interest in.

This challenged me to ask questions of the staff members at my internship and to reach deeper than simply going about the day with the kids.

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

At this point in my college career, my next goal would be to go to either a master’s program or PhD program for developmental psychology. I would like to research post-traumatic stress disorder in kids related to childhood trauma and sexual assault. Eventually I hope to work as a clinician or have my own psychological practice. I really enjoyed the treatment aspect of my internship, so that helped me realize I definitely want to work as a psychologist. I am open minded about changing the focus, but I know that I do wish to work with children after spending a summer working with them. Children have open minds and the ability to learn so much, so I think they would be the population I would like to work with best.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would definitely recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students. It was a very enriching experience, and I enjoyed going to work each day. The staff were kind and helpful whenever I had a question, and they thoroughly taught the interns how to do the job that was expected of them.

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