Mary Thorne ’15
Internship Site: Hand in Hand - Baltimore, MD
My main project was working on developing and teaching the GED program. I also solicited donations from local businesses and assisted the young men in finding jobs. I really enjoyed the GED program because I was able to observe and participate in individual’s learning processes. I was able to see the different ways that people’s brains process information. I was able to problem solve to find a way to make the information so that it made sense to them.
The most difficult part of this experience was establishing myself as an authority figure as well as a mentor and someone that the young men could talk to. At first I was unsure as to how to go about this but I found out that demanding respect and treating them as adults resulted in a good environment for all involved. I was able to keep a professional environment while creating an environment that allowed for the young men to feel accepted and unthreatened.
The class that probably prepared me the most was Psychopathology because it gave me a sense that some of these young men might have more going on psychologically than I would have previously thought. One of the things we learned in that class was that most psychological issues are on a continuum. I was able to observe that some of the young men might have certain degrees of learning disorders that interfere with their ability to remember and process the information they have learned and are learning in the classroom. Brain and Behavior with Professor Barber also prepared me a lot because we learned a lot about memory and drug use in one of our units. This was helpful in my situation because many of the young men have dealt with significant drug use in their pasts. It was helpful to understand how those things affect one’s brain because then I had a better idea of what condition their brain may be in today.
My internship allowed me to see a different side of the psychological community. Before my internship I had only worked with autistic individuals from a psychological standpoint. This experience allowed me to see the social work side of psychological careers. I learned that as much as I enjoyed my time at my internship that I don’t think social work is a career path that is right for me.
Tips from Mary:
I would suggest that people looking for internships keep their minds open to new opportunities and allow themselves to explore an option that might not seem like something they would do every day. Keeping an open mind is important in any new experience.
*To find out more about how to get an internship, make an appointment with a career counselor. Just call the Career Center at 717-245-1740 or stop by Biddle House.