A guest post by Aaron Tyler about his PSY 300 internship
My name is Aaron Tyler, and I am a fourth-year Psychology major at the UNE Biddeford campus. I spent the first three years of my undergrad as a Neuroscience major, but felt a change was necessary for myself. For my psychology (PSY 300) internship in the Fall 2019 semester, I found an internship opportunity through the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). As an intern for the State of Maine, in the Office of Child and Family Services, I have had more educational experiences than I have ever had in a classroom. I was an intern for a Behavioral Health Program Coordinator that covers Cumberland and York counties. In short, we spent time discussing youth with behavioral and developmental problems, that are in treatment, or that would benefit from it. We met with service providers in this area, and discussed the youth they care for, and any that we had in mind that would potentially benefit from their specific treatment styles. Our department works with various facilities such as hospital emergency department, residential treatment facilities, and even in home skill-building therapies. The main duty is to help the youth get the proper treatment they need, in a setting that best fits them.
While there are many valuable things that I have acquired over the course of my internship, I feel the most important, was that it helped develop direction for my career path. Before now, I didn’t know if I wanted to work with children or adults, and I think that I have felt fulfilled and satisfied working with children. To help someone that is otherwise unable to help themselves, is one of the most gratifying feelings you can experience as a person.
The things that I have learned in classes could not prepare me for the real world experiences that I have had. From traumatizing, to unforgettably positive, there are some extreme circumstances that I would have only thought I’d ever see in movies.
I have truly had a great experience at my internship, and have learned valuables lessons that I will never forget.
Our thanks to Aaron for sharing her experience with us. All Psychology majors complete at least one internship, PSY 300, as part of their degree and work closely with a faculty supervisor as part of the experience.To learn more about Psychology at UNE, and our internship experiences, please visit: https://www.une.edu/cas/psych
A guest post by Maddie Dolan about her PSY 495 internship
Service Dog Project is a non-profit organization located in Ipswich Massachusetts that breeds, raises, trains, and donates Great Danes as mobility assistance service dogs. After volunteering there since Summer 2019, I was given the opportunity in Spring 2020 to participate in an internship.
My daily responsibilities as an intern included kennel maintenance such as cleaning kennels and doing dishes and laundry as well as general animal care such as feeding the dogs and various other farm animals on property, cleaning up after the dogs, and letting them outside to play. However, the part of my internship that was most exciting for me was the opportunity I was given to assist in the training of future service dogs.
Under the supervision and instruction of the head trainer, I was able to learn training techniques and use them to work with the three dogs that had been assigned to me. I worked with those three dogs- Elsa, Jasmine, and Cosmo (and additionally a fourth dog named Nala when the dogs needed temporary quarantine homes) on skills they will need in order to become successful service dogs in the future such as recall (the dog responds to their name and comes to you), down-stays, one-step walking (you step, the dog steps, one step at a time), look/eye contact, “get dressed” (their command to put their leash and vest on), pace (the dog walks next to you matching your pace), stairs, and under (the dog tucks underneath your legs or an object like a table).
Though I was not able to make as much progress as I may have wished with some dogs (especially since my internship was cut short with the COVID 19 pandemic), I was able to make more than I had anticipated. But either way, regardless of how much progress I made in training each of the dogs the opportunity to assist in doing so provided me not only with the opportunity to develop my own personal training skills but it also allowed me to be able to be a part of something amazing.
Since I started volunteering, I have seen 15+ dogs successfully graduate the program, become service dogs, and go on to change the lives of their handlers. Many of the individuals who are recipients of these dogs and many others who came before them often come back to volunteer at the farm which has given me the opportunity to both physically see how these dogs change peoples lives and allow them to “walk on” as SDP likes to say, as well as to speak with the recipients about their experiences having a service dog and how their dog helps them in ways that I might not be able to see.
Through my internship I have of course fallen in love with the individual dogs (there’s not much better than puppy kisses and Dane snuggles) but I have also fallen further in love with service dogs. Before beginning my internship I had long considered a career working with and possibly training service dogs, but I was never sure if it was the right path for me. This internship showed me that it is. Between the dogs themselves and the relationships I have built with them and seeing and hearing how recipients’ lives are changed when they are matched with their service dogs it has been an absolute joy and honor to have been able to be a part of something so special and life changing for so many. Nothing would make me happier than to be able to continue helping to change people’s lives using my passion for animals. My education as an Animal Behavior major at UNE along with this internship have given me the knowledge, experience and skills so that I am hopefully able to continue to do just that.
The Great Dane Service Dogs that come out of Service Dog Project are life altering for their recipients, but the experience of having been able to be a part of something so meaningful has been life changing for me as well.
Our thanks to Maddie for sharing her experience with us. All Animal Behavior majors complete at least one internship, PSY 495, as part of their degree and work closely with a faculty supervisor as part of the experience.For more information about the animal behavior major at UNE, please visit: https://www.une.edu/cas/psych/bs-animal-behavior
A guest post by Maddie Lynnworth about her PSY 300 internship
For the first part of the Spring 2020 semester, I was an intern at Holistic Healing Services and Wellness Center in Saco, Maine. My internship was exactly what I was looking for, in that I was able to tap into and explore the parts of myself that I know will be the most useful for healing others someday. My internship required empathy and compassion, as well as a curiosity and genuine love for the work done. Beyond just counseling, this facility employs counselors that are versed in massage, reiki, essential oils, meditation, conscious touch and movement medicine, and more. This provided me a unique opportunity to learn about many different modalities and how they directly relate to counseling and psychology all in one place. I was gifted with the opportunity to engage with clients and staff in a setting focused on finding and keeping your breath, and I often left feeling more peaceful than when I arrived.
This was among the most valuable things of my internship. To have peace in one’s work is one of my greatest dreams, and it is so exciting to see that in action. I think this internship has given me hope and empowered me in pursuing my goals with healing, because it has reinforced how creative one can be in their approach. The exposure I got to so many different modalities will allow me to streamline my later education, as I will have more information on what each of those approaches are actually like in practice. The welcoming and nurturing environment of this internship was indispensable. I felt as though my interests, questions, and learning were of real importance, and my supervisor did a fantastic job of making me feel not only included, but wanted.
This internship greatly affected the way I would like to approach my own journey. In getting exposure to so many different treatment options, I will invariably favor some over others, which may have taken me years to learn outside of this internship. It also gave me hands on experience with a counseling/clinical setting, and will help me solidify if that is the direction I want to pursue in the future. In more hands-on experiences, I am learning what techniques, approaches, and perspectives I identify with, which will help guide the way I interact with my own clients someday. This internship gave me the opportunity to learn about nearly every facet of what it is to be a clinician, which will inform me greatly on the way I choose to shape my future.
I see reflections of various classes sprinkled through my internship. Concepts learned about, sociology and community psychology, as well as specific approaches like Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or Humanistic psychology are all quite prevalent at this facility. I had the opportunity to draft treatment plans based on learning goals, and saw concepts and approaches I have learned about CBT in class in practice there. Through becoming familiar with how my strengths and weaknesses will impact my goals, as well as how I will measure and hold myself accountable, I was able to see how well CBT really works. I watched its procedures make me aware of how to challenge my own beliefs and reframe limiting thoughts. This internship validates much of what I have spent years studying.
Our thanks to Maddie for sharing her experience with us. All Psychology majors complete at least one internship, PSY 300, as part of their degree and work closely with a faculty supervisor as part of the experience.To learn more about Psychology at UNE, and our internship experiences, please visit: https://www.une.edu/cas/psych
A guest post by Miranda Bragan about her PSY 495 internship
For my internship in Spring 2020 I decided to volunteer at the Ever After Mustang Rescue right down the road from UNE. I choose to work there because horses are my absolute passion. Chances are that if you ask someone who knows me well enough they will tell you that I prefer horses to people, which isn’t necessarily wrong. I have been around horses almost my entire life because I started riding them and taking horseback riding lessons when I was three. Horses give me a sense of comfort and being at any barn really gives me a sense of peace and calmness. Everyone has a safe space where they feel safe, and for me it’s almost any barn. Growing up I was a fairly shy kid but being around horses brought out my confidence. Horses have taught and helped me with so much growing up that I wanted a chance to return the favor. When I first heard there was a mustang rescue only a few minutes away from school I was ecstatic and I instantly knew I wanted to go there and volunteer.
The barn relies heavily on donations to keep it running because it is a nonprofit organization. The biggest goal for the people who own the rescue is to find homes for all the horses that come through their barn doors. Right before I left for the semester I was actually told that two of their newer horses had serious adopters that were very interested in adopting them. I was sad to heard that the horses were leaving but I was so excited to hear that they may be going to a good forever home.
When I first started volunteering at the rescue I was fairly shy because it was a new place with new rules and new people. In the beginning I pretty much kept to myself and did what I was asked and when I was done I asked what they needed help getting done next. It took me a while to warm up to some of the other people volunteering at the rescue but they are all such nice people. They were all so welcoming and were happy to have a me volunteering with them. I think I became fairly close with them. We all loved the horses and working there and I was able to build several personal relationships while I was there. Being there reminded me of home and to me all of us working there became a part of a family.
When I started at the rescue I also didn’t know how much hands on work to expect to be doing with the horses since I was new there but I’m so glad that I was able to get the kind of experience I got while I was there. My supervisor knew that I had experience with horses so when I started doing even just the small stuff like letting them out to their pens in the morning, it was one of those feel good moments for me because I know they don’t let everyone take the horses out. I felt like I was a trusted person at the barn who knew how to act around horses, even though I made mistakes every now and then just like any human being does. Another feel good moment I had was when my supervisor asked me if I would be willing to feed the horses their hay in the morning when I was the first one there because not everyone at the rescue gets to do that. Some of the horses even have special hay that I had to give them.
My usual morning routine consisted with always getting there early, so usually I would have a chance to feed the horses. Then I would go through the outside pens and fill up the water buckets. Once my supervisor got there she would also have me put hay in all the outside pens then when I was done I would usually get to help her feed grain to all the horses. All the horses receive different amounts of grain and other supplements. Once they had eaten their grain I would put all the horses outside for the day. One of the horses that I would let out every morning. His name was Justin and there were a lot of things that spooked him like loud noises. It took a while for him to get use to me taking him out in the morning but when he started showing that he was less scared of me, it felt like big win more me. Then I went to cleaning stalls, filling water buckets and putting hay and grain in the stalls so the horses would be all set when they were brought in for the night. Before we left the barn we almost always threw hay down from the loft and stacked it up below. Once I was getting the hang of things at the rescue my supervisor started having me work with the horses. There were two horses that I worked with for most of the time, Remington and Aeries. I was able to ride Remington once and spent most of my time working with him by lunging him, which was once of my biggest challenges at the rescue. When I worked with him my supervisor helped me a lot by showing me what to do and by talking me through it, giving me a lot of help. With Aeries, we worked mostly on a lot of groundwork with him through long lining, lunging, grooming, and taking him through obstacles. I also worked with another horse at the rescue a time or two named Sterling, with him I also took him through different obstacles. All of the horses at the barn have their own personalities which made working with them more enjoyable but I had to use different skills with different horses. When I was working with the horses I was able to apply a lot of what I had learned in several of my classes this year as well as my previous experience.
Through working at the rescue I used a lot of different personal and professional skills. My communication skills without a doubt grew and became stronger while I was working there. I was able to develop more than just professional relationships with the people I worked with. I created deeper and meaningful personal relationships because like I said earlier they became a family to me. I developed professional skills by always showing up on time and if there was a day I couldn’t come in because of a snow day, I would let my supervisor know first thing in the morning. When I went home on some weekends I would let my supervisor know in advance because it meant that I would not be there for one of my days of working, that way we could choose another day for earlier in the week for me to go in and work to make up my hours.
If there is anything that this experience has shown me, it is that without a doubt in my mind that I want to work with horses when I am done with school. Personally knowing what horses can do for people and seeing it, I want to be able to give those experiences to other people who could greatly benefit from it. These are all reason why I would like to be able to go into equine-assisted therapy because I know there is a great need for it back home where I live. For anyone who is looking for an internship, volunteer, work or just loves horses I would strongly recommend the Ever After Mustang Rescue. I cannot thank them enough for everything they have done for me over the semester.
Our thanks to Miranda for sharing her experience with us. All Animal Behavior majors complete at least one internship, PSY 495, as part of their degree and work closely with a faculty supervisor as part of the experience.For more information about the animal behavior major at UNE, please visit: https://www.une.edu/cas/psych/bs-animal-behavior
Graduate school applications. Yes, that phrase has huge implications, and it is a task that can be overwhelming. For Reading Comprehension and Cognition (RCC) Lab alum, Courtney Parent (PSY ’19), that belief held true. Despite the weight of grad school applications, she received news that she was admitted to the Developmental Psychology graduate program at Teachers College, Columbia University (TC) to begin working towards her Master’s degree in the fall.
Courtney always knew she wanted to work with children, originally attending UNE as a Pre-Med/Biology major with the hopes of becoming a pediatrician. However, after taking Lifespan Development as a sophomore, she decided to pursue a degree in psychology instead and find a career path in which she loved what she was studying while still wanting to help children.
She became a teaching assistant and a research assistant under Dr. Jennifer Stiegler-Balfour, Associate Professor of Psychology, in the RCC Lab. From leading review sessions and helping students, spending a summer learning how to develop a novel research study, and everything in between, these experiences all have given Courtney a small taste of the world of academia. “I am truly grateful for all of the knowledge I’ve gained from working in the RCC Lab. Working under Dr. Stiegler-Balfour has allowed me to grow in so many ways, and I am humbled to have had the opportunity to learn from her. Her support is unwavering, and I feel so appreciative of her mentorship throughout my undergraduate career.” Courtney is now working towards becoming a professor who also conducts research on children with congenital heart defects (CHDs).
During the application process, she kept in mind these research interests, as well as the typical class size. “When researching TC’s program, I noticed that I would have the option to focus my course of study into one of three areas. One of these areas resonated with me as it falls in line with my future research interests,” Courtney explains. “Growing up in a small town and attending a small university allowed me to realize how much I value that small-school atmosphere. For me, that was another important deciding factor,” she adds.
Courtney is thankful to have had the support of her family, friends, and mentors at UNE. “Even after graduation, your professors and advisors are still a tremendous resource. They will help you to ensure that your application is top-notch because they want you to succeed post-graduation, and that’s what separates UNE from other institutions.” She adds that, “Since receiving the email notifying me of my acceptance, I have been still so shocked that I was one of the few applicants to be accepted out of the many who applied. I feel so humbled to be placed with such an elite group of people in the field of developmental psychology. I am truly blessed to have had an unforgettable undergraduate experience at UNE to help get me here.”
A guest post by Luke Burns about his PSY 495 internship
My name is Luke Burns, I am a graduating Animal Behavior major with a minor in Environmental Studies. For the Spring of 2020, I interned with the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge (RCNWR) in Wells, Maine. My internship position was under the Refuge’s Wildlife Biologist, Jeffrey Tash, who had me on his team for his on-going New England Cottontail Restoration project. His office and funding was through the Wildlife Refuge, but most of our work was happening at the Wells Reserve, which neighbored the refuge’s land on two sides.
Most of my work was collecting field data with/for Jeff. It started in January with primarily setting out and maintaining feeder sites and trail cams in the Wells Reserve. The above image is me standing over one of our four feeder sites that were set in the previous Winter. Each feeder site had a trail cam that I would swap batteries and SD cards to bring back and check trail cam photos with Jeff for rabbits or other animals (Deer, opossum, raccoons, predators). Also the ‘shell chamber” has a wooden floor and I would leave rabbit chow as an incentive and supplement for rabbits to eat, but these sites were not made to be reliable food sources. They were set to be attractive, but not relied on by any animal. Also in the Winter and early Spring I would look for rabbit tracks or signs in the snow (Browse, pellets, prints, fur). The feeder sites and camera were moved when predators were seen on trail cams and seemed to learn to stalk the sites waiting for rabbits. A Fisher was seen early March on cam and forced us to pick up the feeders.
Towards the end of my time on-site (Mid-March), I had an idea with Jeff to set out trail cams in more popular areas of the reserve without feeder sites, and see how much “traffic” there is without influence. As an idea of baseline data, we wanted to get an idea of population to see how the New England Cottontail population is growing this spring (2020). I may not see the results in person but I am staying in contact with Jeff and the Reserve after graduation. I also helped a small amount with many other aspects of the project off-site working with the public and private landowners in the surrounding towns.
My RCNWR internship was definitely a better experience than I was expecting and I’m thankful for the experience I had with it. The part that best helped me learn was seeing how multi-disciplined the project was as I became more involved with it. The project was bigger than just the Refuge and the Reserve. It reached many different town landowners and workers, several zoos in New England helped raise Cottontail kits, Maine and U.S. Fish and Wildlife were involved with land and species protection. To be in a position to see so many different people have a role in the project’s success was very interesting to learn about.
Also, I enjoyed being a part of a long-term project that may continue after my time involved and will continue to grow and succeed. I enjoyed knowing that my field work and data will be put into a larger source that will be used to help the general public. I feel after this internship that I would be more interested in finding work with a long-term project that I can help see succeed. Research was never something I seriously considered until starting here and it is something I could see myself doing going forward as a career.
Talking to my boss and his colleagues also showed me how important flexibility and strength in many fields would be important and useful going forward. There are many directions that field research can go into that I have not seriously considered like GIS, data analysis, and other qualitative skills. My position has seriously helped me grow and find a career path I would be excited to go down in the near future.
Our thanks to Luke for sharing his experience with us. All Animal Behavior majors complete at least one internship, PSY 495, as part of their degree and work closely with a faculty supervisor as part of the experience.For more information about the animal behavior major at UNE, please visit: https://www.une.edu/cas/psych/bs-animal-behavior
A guest post by Fayla Sutton about her PSY 300 internship
During the Fall 2019 semester, I completed my internship at Seeds of Hope Neighborhood Center. Seeds of Hope is located in downtown Biddeford and offers support to people who struggle with poverty. They offer a complimentary continental breakfast and soup all day. They have free clothing donations for people to take when they come in, and a career center where we help people look for jobs and apartments.
As an intern, I gave presentations on public health topics, like vaping and immunizations. I also assisted with the management and organization of new donations, making sure the food was stocked and clean, and cleaning the center. I did a lot of work in the career center where I helped people find jobs, apply for food stamps, look for apartments, and navigate government assistance websites. This semester I also helped administer homelessness surveys, where we sit down and interviewed people who are/have been homeless in hopes of better understanding the barriers they face in finding supports, and ways in which the city of Biddeford and Seeds of Hope can assist the community.
Interning at Seeds of Hope was intimidating at first. There were a lot of people to remember, a new culture to take in, and just general nervousness being exposed to so many new people. I was pushed outside of my comfort zone by being immersed in a new culture. Seeds of Hope is often very high energy and personal connections become very important and strong. I was surprised how easily and quickly some of the neighbors (this is what we call our patrons) opened up. My world view also shifted, because we were required to deliver compassionate care to anyone who comes into Seeds, no matter who it is. This made me realize that you can care about and value people outside of their beliefs and the decisions they make/have made. Learning the culture and becoming part of the community was an amazing experience that I appreciate.
I am interested in community non-profit work and community psychology, so this internship provided me with a lot of really great experience. I got the opportunity to understand the way a lot of government assistance programs work together, and the challenges of trying to apply for and maintain them. I am got a lot of experience offering an empathetic ear to anyone who might need one. One of my favorite parts of my internship was that it offered me the opportunity to meet and connect with people I would not otherwise have been exposed to. I also think it was a really important tool in accepting that people’s worth and character is not dictated by their education level, living situation, or their background. Seeds has made me realize that there may be a lot more populations that I am interested in working with than I initially thought; it has pushed me to widen my scope when looking at jobs for next year.
One thing this internship has made apparent to me is how interconnected a lot of the concepts we learn in class are in the real world. I have seen a lot of overlap of concepts within individual neighbors including things like recidivism, substance abuse/dependence, mental illness, and co-morbidity. I am also confronted daily with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It is hard, from what I have seen, for people to get help or be concerned with mental illness when they don’t have a roof over their heads or know where their next meal is coming from. On the flip side, I have been exposed to vast amounts of resilience and strength. It is amazing to see the things people have had to go through and that they can still maintain a positive outlook on things. Being in a real-life setting made a lot of the concepts much more tangible and easier to understand as well as connect them to one another.
Our thanks to Fayla for sharing her experience with us. All Psychology majors complete at least one internship, PSY 300, as part of their degree and work closely with a faculty supervisor as part of the experience.To learn more about Psychology at UNE, and our internship experiences, please visit: https://www.une.edu/cas/psych
Ravin Davis, a Neuroscience major here at UNE (class of ’21), recently wrote a fun piece for the Nor’Easter online student newspaper. The piece is our own Dr. Glenn Stevenson’s previous “lives” as a professional musician and hotel bartender. Dr. Stevenson is a Professor of Psychology and teaches courses for Neuroscience, Animal Behavior, and Psychology majors.
Ravin has been working with Dr. Stevenson in his research lab and will be promoted to lab manager next year.
A guest post by Daria Casazza about her PSY 300 internship
My name is Daria Casazza and I am a senior Health Wellness Occupational Studies and Psychology dual major. Upon graduating, I plan to attend graduate school to obtain a doctorate in occupational therapy. I hope to eventually work in a psychiatric hospital as an occupational therapist.
During the Fall 2019 semester, I interned with a psychologist that provides neuropsychological testing to individuals of all ages. The office is small and there are only three other people who work in the office. I participate in a number of duties at the neuropsych office. I observed how to give neuropsychological tests such as the WIAT, WAIS, Rorschach InkBlot Test, and different kinds of achievement evaluations and memory evaluations. In addition, I also made educational brochures for display. I made three brochures on sleep. One for children, adolescence, older adults. I was also tasked with entering referrals into the computer. In addition, I also helped train other workers at the office by being the “test subject” for evaluations. I have participated in memory and intelligence evaluations. I had the opportunity to have an EEG performed on me. That was super interesting and fun! The people at the office are are extremely kind and embraced me into their practice. The office, for the most part, is a stress free environment. It is extremely easy to learn and absorb all the new elements.
There are many aspects of this internship that I found valuable. Everyday that I was there I learned a new skill or lesson. I made connections with health care providers. I developed better communication and leadership skills as well. I also deepened my knowledge in the psychology field. I learned a lot of office work as well. Although that information can be dry, it is also super valuable. I began to memorize different insurances and the differences between private or government insurance. I entered a lot of data into the computer and I became skilled in office work. In addition, I gained communication skills. I chatted everyday with individuals who had developmental delays. I became better at listening and expressing patience with these individuals.
This internship will help me in my career because I am learning patience. I think that patience is an extremely good skill to have. As an occupational therapist I am going to have to be patient. In class, we talked about memory and attention. This internship reinforces these concepts. I can see what happens when an individual’s memory is not working properly or when individuals cannot pay attention to certain the evaluations. I am beyond happy to have been given this opportunity to work with a neuropsychologist. I cannot wait to see what I learn by the end of the year and see how much I can grow as an individual.
Our thanks to Daria for sharing her experience with us. All Psychology majors complete at least one internship, PSY 300, as part of their degree and work closely with a faculty supervisor as part of the experience.To learn more about Psychology at UNE, and our internship experiences, please visit: https://www.une.edu/cas/psych