1. Tell us about where you are interning and the kind of work you are doing.
This summer, I am a data and research intern at The Ana Grace Project (AGP) in New Britain, CT. The AGP was born out of the tragedy at Sandy Hook School on December 14, 2012 that took Ana Grace Marquéz-Greene’s life. Her mother, Nelba Marquéz-Greene, started The AGP to remember her daughter by promoting love, community, and connection for every child and family. Shortly after the tragedy, the Marquéz-Greene family adopted the slogan “Love Wins” which serves as the name for their three lead initiatives: Love Wins partner schools, professional development, and music & arts. At The AGP, I am a data and research intern. In this role, I collect data from Love Wins programs and the State Department of Education as well as write research manuscripts to display the impact of the Love Wins programs on elementary school students, teachers, and administrators in New Britain, CT. Additionally, I have also been able to contribute to the Ana Grace Project Professional Development and Implementation manual and to a collection of Love Wins therapeutic techniques and curriculum extension activities.
2. Give us an example of how you have applied your academic learnings to your internship?
As double Psychology and American Sign Language (ASL)/Deaf Studies majors at Holy Cross, I have been exposed to many different research studies and methodologies through my courses. Through this, I became familiar with the format, content, and creation of APA-style manuscripts. Holy Cross has also provided me with a sufficient knowledge of ethics, especially in data collection and research. This knowledge has helped me substantially while navigating ethical standards, confidentiality, and informed consent. This strong foundation in psychological research from Holy Cross was extremely beneficial in my internship as I was able to “jump right in” to contributing to the in-process manuscripts. In particular, Professor Bukatko’s “Developmental Psychology” course at Holy Cross allowed me to learn about child and adolescent development and how trauma, violence, and emotional dysregulation impact children. The material in this course has been extremely prevalent for my internship. Overall, my academic learnings have been very applicable to my internship.
Throughout my internship, I was surprised (and excited!) to be included in different organizational, task force, and committee meetings throughout the state. In these meetings, I was able to learn from and connect with prominent individuals within the fields of education, psychology, early intervention, marriage and family therapy, mental health counseling, and more. These opportunities have also allowed me to see the types of committees and organizations I can be involved with in my future career.
4. How is this experience influencing or connecting to your future career plans / goals?
As I am pursuing a career in clinical mental health counseling, this research internship is providing me with many beneficial experiences and useful skills that support my future career. Research allows me to witness the effectiveness of certain therapeutic models, techniques, and programs as well as witness current trends in mental health. In addition, my internship location is in a multi-purpose behavioral health agency which allows me to meet individuals in a range of different professions in the field of Psychology. These interactions have provided me with further discernment in my future profession.
I would tell future interns not to be hesitant or embarrassed to ask questions. When entering a new position, it is normal to be a little nervous but can seem overwhelming if you are not understanding everything at first. Your boss, supervisor, and peers who are already established at your organization will be able to provide you with answers to your questions and will probably be happy you asked! For example, I learned early on in my internship that my organization uses a lot of abbreviations. On the first day, I was bombarded with SEL, TIC, MFT, LCSW, LMHC and felt pretty confused at first. Each time my supervisor said an abbreviation or term I was unfamiliar with, I asked him to clarify. Not only did this allow me to fully understand what he was saying, but it also showed him that I was attentively listening and willing to learn.