Why You should study Animal Behavior, Neuroscience, and Psychology at UNE!

Are you thinking about starting college soon? Trying to decide whether UNE might be the right home for you? Are you interested in Animal Behavior, Neuroscience, or Psychology?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you’re in the right place. We have three videos for you to learn from our current students about what they love about UNE and our majors. Watch just one or all three and learn about what make UNE an amazing place to be!

Animal Behavior Major

Watch Animal Behavior students and Dr. Zach Olson talk about their major here:


Neuroscience Major

Watch Neuroscience students and Dr. Glenn Stevenson talk about their major here:


Psychology Major

Watch Psychology students and Dr. Jennifer Steigler-Balfour talk about their major here:



Want to learn more about Psychology, Neuroscience, or Animal Behavior at UNE? Be sure to read more on our blog or visit our webpages:



My internship at Huntington Commons, Kennebunk, ME

A guest post by Rebecca Sanda about her PSY 300 internship

In Spring 2019 I completed my internship at Huntington Commons in Kennebunk. This is a senior community of the company Sunrise Senior Living. Their main focus is allowing individuals to “age in place,” which allows residents to make the one time move into a senior community rather than jumping from facility to facility to accommodate their needs.  I worked in the Assisted Living facility. The residents in Assisted Living vary in care needs. Some are relatively independent while others depend on staff for most things (i.e., dressing, toileting, showering, grooming, walking, transferring from chair to bed, as well as eating).  My position at Bradford was called a Care Manager. Care Managers are either PSS or CNA certified. During my internship I worked on obtaining my PSS which the company pays for.  A typical shift for me was from 2:00pm until 10pm and mainly involved bedtime care.

Though this job was both mentally and physically demanding, I formed some really great bonds with a lot of the residents. This has been the most valuable and most rewarding aspect for me. I got really close with one resident in particular who was a school psychologist in the area. She, like many other residents, shared many parts of her life with me. During one of my shifts, this resident told me I was the best caretaker she had ever had and that I was very special to her. This was so rewarding to hear.

The most difficult part of this position was the population I worked with. Because the residents are at end of life, most are already on Hospice care. The goal of their care  is more about making them comfortable and caring for their needs rather than rehabilitating. On one hand, I learned so much about caring for people and made meaningful connections but on the other hand I had to say goodbye to them too. One motivating factor to work in this population would be to increase the quality of care elderly in our country get. It seems pretty apparent to me that the elderly are not necessarily seen as adults anymore and do not always receive the best care.            

Working in this environment has enabled me to make connections between concepts learned throughout the psychology program here at UNE and real-world experiences. One major concept I have thought back on a lot has been Erikson’s stages of development. Having the background knowledge of the different stages in life has better equipped me to handle certain situations with residents at my internship. This position requires the practice of empathy and I have seen how much of a difference this can make. Just listening to and validating someone’s feelings has worked in every instance I have used it here. Lastly, I have reflected a lot on material from the Theories of Counseling course I took with Dr. Morrison. In this class we devoted each week to a different school of therapy. With these concepts in mind, I have done my best to interact with each resident in meaningful ways that validate their struggles as a member of this community and population. This internship has definitely had its challenging moments, however I am grateful to have met so many wonderful individuals and I feel as though I am learning so much about helping others.

Our thanks to Rebecca 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.

My internship at Seeds of Hope, Biddeford, ME

A guest post by Mark Stubbs about the work he completed as part of PSY 300, Internship

For my internship in the Spring 2019 semester I chose to work at a center that provides a meal, career services, and compassion to the Southern Maine community. Seeds of Hope is a nonprofit organization located in Biddeford, ME. Seeds of Hope has a mission statement “It all begins with a meal,” which guides the directors and volunteers. Individuals cannot properly live without food and, as basic as this might seem, it definitely serves as a great reminder to those who have been privileged enough to never have had to worry about eating. Seeds of Hope primarily works to provide continental breakfast/lunch meals to those who are food insecure. For 4 hours every day of the business week, Seeds of Hope is open for public use. The individuals who utilize these services are commonly in poverty, struggle with homelessness, or are simply in a tight spot in life.

Seeds of Hope does not only offer meal services, they also offer supplies needed by this population. They offer clothing, personal hygiene items, sleep items, as well as miscellaneous items, which all come to the site as donations. Seeds of Hope houses these donations and either gives them away to groups of individuals or hands them out to individuals through personal request. Another large part of what Seeds of Hope offers is career services. The site has a career services center for those who are looking for employment, need to learn how to construct a resume, or need to use a computer for any other reason. Seeds of Hope helps individuals stabilize their own situations through offering unconditional positive regard as well as resources they cannot easily find elsewhere.

I chose this internship because of the population it aims to assist. The homeless and food insecure population in Southern Maine is growing, and there aren’t many solutions being offered. While Seeds of Hope doesn’t completely solve the problems of these individuals, it does offer immediate relief through breaking bread, interacting socially, and reloading on needed supplies. I respect how personable the site is. Seeds of Hope does not pretend to be something it isn’t — it is a small site that offers basic resources. However, the manner in which these resources are delivered is incredibly social and done with dignity.

Everyone that enters the establishment is treated with respect and has their needs met to the best of the staff’s abilities. A lot of the individuals are regulars at the site and because of this many of them have become friends. They bond over similar life experiences and are able to do so successfully in the common room of the site. Every day is a loud one, as there are many smiles and laughs booming throughout the site. For many of these people, Seeds of Hope is the only location where they receive social interaction of any kind, which is why it’s so incredible to witness, as well as be a part of, the day-to-day operations of the site. I am lucky enough to see people express pure joy and thankfulness, as well as a sense of togetherness. I have never been a part of any organization that has shown me something like this before. There is such a deep level of connection among everyone; it is almost tangible. I think this was perhaps my favorite aspect of interning here. Even if it was for just a few hours, I was able to see people genuinely happy. I got to assist in giving back to a community of individuals who really needed it.

For me, the most obvious psychological principle to relate my internship experience to is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Maslow’s hierarchy says that we have to meet certain internal requirements in order to survive, function, and progress through life. At the bottom of the hierarchy are our physiological needs, such as food and shelter. Virtually all of the individuals who come to Seeds of Hope struggle with the maintenance of this first stage. Because of this struggle, they are unable to focus on other areas of life. One cannot worry about interpersonal relationships or career opportunities while also being food insecure. We have to have a reliable presence of food and shelter before we can concern ourselves with other stages of the hierarchy. This first stage is important to be met because it prevents life progress, this is why programs like Seeds of Hope are so important, they help individuals with this exact stage.

While this internship experience (PSY 300) is focused mainly on volunteer work, there are definitely some career options that are related. I could work with VA, offering support to veterans who find themselves in life situations similar to the ones I’ve seen at Seeds of Hope. I could also become a counselor for those who are homeless and food insecure. I could help provide insight and guidance in order to assist in successful life changes. Lastly, I could also become an outreach worker, an individual who works for the promotion of programs. These programs would be offered to the homeless, and it would be my job to spread awareness of these programs/services as well as recruit business from individuals. Most jobs in this field are voluntary; they do not offer any kind of monetary payment. However, there are some occupations such as these that allow for the same type of work but indeed for payment. The skills I’ve learned in my internship will allow me to become a stronger candidate for these positions. I can continue working with these populations in order to fight the big battle against Southern Maine homelessness.

Thanks to Mark for sharing his experience as part of PSY 300. All psychology majors complete at least one internship as part of their major and work closely with a faculty member throughout the experience.

My internship at Caring Unlimited, Sanford, ME

A guest post by Emily Mott about her internship as part of PSY 300.

In Spring 2019 I interned at Caring Unlimited (CU), which is a domestic violence service organization based out of Sanford, Maine. CU offers many services to the community such as: direct service programs, a 24-hr hotline, outreach services/support groups, legal assistance and court advocacy, emergency shelter, transitional housing and services, along with parent support services. My internship was a mix of many of these things. I spent time working with the Hotline and Volunteer Services Coordinator, working on their online system, organizing a volunteer appreciation event, and putting together training materials and informational packets. I also participated in a week-long training to be certified in Maine to work on any domestic violence hotline. I picked up many skills from this training to use when staffing the hotline. I also spent time each week in “kidcare” which is when we spend time with the kids of the people who are taking advantage of a support group that is offered so that they won’t have to worry about getting childcare during that time.

My focus, and the main reason I pursued interning at Caring Unlimited, is to be a child advocacy lawyer, and I am interested in working with domestic violence survivors. Betsy, my supervisor, worked to create a legal intern position for me, which is exciting. This experience provided me with hands on experience in the court of law, even before applying to law school. I had the chance to work with court advocates, mostly on protection from abuse orders, but also on other family, or domestic violence matters. This internship allowed me to make connections in the field and helped me gain valuable experience and skills relevant to my life.

Our thanks to Emily for sharing her thoughts on her internship. All psychology majors complete at least one internship, PSY 300, as part of their degree.

My internship at Connections for Kids

A guest post by Krista Bailey about her internship experience

In Spring 2019, I interned at Connections for Kids, a mental health agency for kids. I also worked there as an employee, but through a different program. For my internship position I worked in the human resources office. I did a lot of reference calls and worked on projects that helped out the company. For example, I worked on making a pamphlet that talked about what perks employee of the company have access to. I also worked on finding all the states process of finding people’s criminal records, driving records, and child protective services records. We do this because, when working with kids, these background checks are required. These are just a few of many examples of what I did in human resources.

This internship is important for my career because I am interested in applying what I have learned in psychology to the business field.  I may be interested in industrial organizational psychology (IOP) as a future career, but I am not exactly sure yet. I am not sure if I really want to work in Human Resources specifically, but by having this opportunity I get to see a different side to things. For my future I am also potentially interested in sports management/ marketing or some form of advertisement. I can use what I have learned in psychology to aid me in these kinds of positions as well. Understanding how to talk to people and understanding how they may think can help you in many different business and management oriented positions.  

Though this internship might be slightly different than most internships that psychology students work in, I am still able to tie many things that I have learned in classes into it. I can use what I have learned in psychology and apply it to my internship,  most specifically in working to help keep employees happy and healthy in an organization that can, at times, be challenging to work in. 

Our thanks to Krista for sharing her thoughts about her internship. All psychology majors complete at least one internship, PSY 300, as part of their degree. Students work closely with a faculty supervisor as part of the experience.

My internship at Sweetser, part of Maine Mental Health Services

A guest post by Nick Sabato about the internship he completed in Spring 2019 as part of PSY 300.

In Spring of 2019 I completed my internship with the Sweetser organization, which is part of Maine Mental Health Services. My internship experience involved working with young children, age 7-12, who come from many different backgrounds, for many different reasons. A typical day of work for me includes helping the children eat their dinners and keep their composure during movie nights, tucking them into bed, and reading bedtime stories. However, there are times where it can be hectic; then I use de-escalation tactics including explaining to the kids to focus on themselves, take deep breaths, and take space. I also take part in meetings between staff, clinical psychologists, and the families of our clients in order to help achieve a suitable treatment plan. I feel as though I am making a positive impact on the lives of the children that I work with. It is also incredibly rewarding to see a child’s face light up when he or she sees me walk onto the unit. There are two children that I work with that want me to play games with them, tuck them into bed, and read their bedtimes stories to. The fact that these two children choose me to spend time with provides me with the knowledge that I am doing my part correctly.

This internship experience has lead me to hone my interpersonal social skills and has sharpened my abilities in regards to using de-escalation tactics for those in a crisis situation. In the future, I plan to go into researching psychotic disorders such as Schizophrenia, Bipolar disorder, Schizoaffective disorder, Paraphrenia, and more. The ability to work with clients this young and with the wide range of symptoms that are present will allow me to always keep in mind that the same disorder can manifest itself differently in different people. Interning at Sweetser has also taught me that I do have the capability and competency to work with children in the mental health field. However I plan to focus on working with and researching adult psychotic disorders because my personal attributes are more suitable for this population and that is my passion. My internship experience has given me prodigious amounts of clarity in respect to my professional career because now I know that working with adults who are burdened with psychotic disorders is my vocation.

My internship experience reinforces many different concepts that I have learned over my last 4 years of learning. The most relevant concept that ties into my internship is that having a stable environment is important for a young child. Another concept that can be applied to some of our residents is Mary Ainsworth and John Bowlby’s theory of attachment styles. At our facility, the children we work with all appear to be either in the anxious resistant or anxious avoidant classification (Bowlby & Ainsworth, 1991). Albert Bandura’s Social Learning Theory states that behavior can be learned through observation and modeling, shown by his Bobo doll experiment which examined aggression (Bandura, 1971). Many of the children I work with exhibit their parents behaviors, such as aggression, recklessness, profanity, and many more behaviors. The ability to recognize the real life displays of these theories in lived experience is paramount in the learning process and has provided me with an increased level of appreciation for the residential spectrum of the mental health field and working with children.

Our thanks to Nick for sharing his thoughts about his internship. All psychology majors complete an internship as part of PSY 300 and work closely with a faculty member who helps them with their placement.

Learn more about the Psychology major at: https://www.une.edu/cas/psych/psychology and the Mental Health minor at: https://www.une.edu/cas/psych/psychology/programs/mhrtc-certification

Learning about animals — with animals!

Dr. Seth Davis says hello to one of the rats that will learn in the lab section associated with PSY 384

Hands-on Training:  Understanding Learning and Behavior Change in Psy 384, Animal Learning and Behavior

Sitting at the intersection of Animal Behavior and Psychology are the powerful techniques for predicting and controlling behavior known as Classical and Operant Conditioning.  Originally discovered over 100 years ago, these techniques have proven essential for our understanding of both human and animal behavior, with important applications in animals training, clinical psychology, business management, advertising, physical/occupational therapy and more.  It’s critical that our students learn about this!

Unfortunately, with over a 100 years of vocabulary terms, complexity, theory refinement and experimental data, these topics can get pretty complex and sometimes start to seem a little dry to students sitting in a classroom.  However, that is NOT the case here at UNE.  Using equipment donated from UNE’s COBRE project and a collaborator, Dr. Seth Davis, Associate Professor Michael Burman, has developed an exciting hands-on curriculum in which students get to work with live rats. 

However, it’s not all snuggly fun with the animals. The purpose of this experience is to recreate and expand upon some of the classical operant conditioning experiments in order to better understand how these techniques work.  The students are trained in the use of modern high-tech cages called “operant chambers” or “skinner boxes.” In these cages the rats, just like UNE students in the cafeteria, are motivated to earn sugary treats.

The students in the course will first habituate the subjects to the chambers and teach them that sugar pellets or sugary water is available to them.  Once an animal is excited to play, the students will then begin to train them to work for their rewards.  The student’s job is to teach the rats to press a lever to earn their treats.  After that, the students can start to ask more sophisticated questions: Does the size of the reward matter?  What about a delay between the effort and the reward?   How does changing the rate of pay effect behavior? 

At the end of the class, a member of the group will often adopt their rat, bringing home a new friend and a constant reminder of the strength of operant conditioning in our lives. 

Thanks to Dr. Burman for providing the photos and information for this story. To learn more about the Animal Behavior major, visit our webpages at: https://www.une.edu/cas/psych/animalbehavior/program

Understanding Aging Through Virtual Reality in PSY 325, Psychology of Aging

Guest post by Dr. Christina Leclerc

Nic Africo virtually embodying Beatriz as she first begins to struggle with the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease while working as a classroom teacher

The phrase is often heard that we learn by doing.  While this is very often true, in order to learn about aging, it is typically really hard to “do.”  As a young person, there is only so much to be learned from perspective taking and reading about age-related change.  There are many media portrayals of older adults, but often characters in these outlets are colored by the negative stereotypical biases of society or the director, or show only the most glossy portions of life as an older adult.  A large part of the real aging process is a mystery until we reach older age ourselves…until now!

Embodied Labs (https://embodiedlabs.com/) has created Virtual Reality (VR) lab experiences that can give us a more realistic view of life in the shoes of simulated older adults who are experiencing one of a number of common age-related challenges. 

A glimpse into Alfred’s perspective with macular degeneration. Photo: Embodied Labs

Students in my Psychology of Aging (PSY 325) class this semester were asked to experience life as an older adult in three different labs over the course of the semester.  At the beginning of the semester, when the class was covering some of the physical changes that take place to the body during the normal aging process, students completed the “We Are Alfred” lab that presented a virtual older man Alfred, a 74-year old man who was struggling with both macular degeneration and high-frequency hearing loss.  During the lab, Alfred struggles to see and hear as he spends time with his family, visits a doctor, and receives a diagnosis.  Upon receiving hearing aids, Alfred’s struggles to hear sounds from his environment decreases remarkably, but the effect of the macular degeneration persist.

Later in the semester, we discussed some of the clinical and mental health challenges that are frequently correlated with later life.  In our class discussions, we covered Alzheimer’s Disease among other neurocognitive disorders found in the aging population.  While many students have had a life connection, either through a grandparent or other older relative, to someone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it is a very different perspective living as the older person directly experiencing symptoms of the disease themselves.  In order to get a glimpse into this experience, students completed the Beatriz Lab, which allows students to virtually embody Beatriz, a middle-aged woman, as she progresses through early, middle, and late stage Alzheimer’s Disease.

Nic Africo, as he virtually experiences cognitive testing as an Alzheimer’s patient

Finally, we closed out the semester with discussions of some of the end of life decisions and related caregiving.  These topics tend to be the most foreign to students in the typical college demographic.  Many of my students expressed surprise with the wide range of emotions they experienced while working their way through the last of the virtual reality labs.  In this VR experience, the students embodied Clay Crowder, a 66-year old man with stage IV terminal lung cancer.    

A virtual view of Clay’s perspective as he works through the end of his life. Photo: Embodied Labs.

Prior to this semester, UNE’s College of Osteopathic Medicine students were the primary viewers of these labs.  By integrating these virtual lab experiences into the Psychology of Aging course, I have been able to bring a bit more of the “do” into the learn by doing notion for the students in my class and continue to expand the active learning components for students interested in the Psychology of Aging.

UNE, through the UNE Library Services and the College of Osteopathic Medicine’s  2016 National Network of Libraries of Medicine New England Region (NN/LM NER) Technology Grant, is working with Embodied Labs and offering virtual, immersive case studies designed to teach students about the aging experience, from the first-person patient perspective. 

Thanks to Dr. Leclerc for providing this content and photos. You can find Dr. Leclerc in PSY 250 Lifespan Development every semester. She will teach PSY 324 Social and Emotional Development in Childhood in Spring 2020 and will offer Psychology of Aging again in 2020-2021. Dr. Leclerc is currently working with other faculty at UNE to develop an interdisciplinary Gerontology minor.

Infusing Research Into the Curriculum in the Psychology Department

Students in Dr. Stiegler-Balfour’s section of PSY285 at the 2019 CAS Undergraduate Research Symposium

The University of New England Psychology Department prides itself on offering students with the opportunity to get involved in scientific research whether they’re studying psychology, animal behavior or neuroscience.

Daria Cassaza, Nikonas Aganis, Brianna Jewett & Jessica Larsen investigated whether positive self-affirmation could offset levels of stress in college students depending on whether someone had internal or external locus of control

A terrific example of how we enable students to get hands-on experience with science is in our Research Methods (PSY285) class. For Dr. Stiegler-Balfour, one of the department faculty members who teaches this class, taking Research Methods as an undergraduate was the course that inspired her to become a researcher and make a positive contribution to the world of science and the field of psychology.

Meagan Thompson, Ashley Johnson, Cassidy Morey & Erin Murphy investigated how an individual’s perception of dogs is effected by their experiences and the breed

At UNE, one of the goals of the research methods course is to teach students to use the tools of psychological science to answer everyday questions and/or to become better consumers of research. As part of the class, students work together in groups to complete a research project under the direction of the instructor.

Nicole Martin, Bobbi Brandau, Zane Getman and Elizabeth Vigue explored the effects of mood and trait level optimism on one’s perception and judgements of others

At the beginning of each semester, Dr. Stiegler-Balfour encourages students to explore research journals and articles for inspiration, and consider which questions remain unanswered or require a more extensive examination. But great research ideas aren’t limited to building on existing studies. Looking closely at everyday life and identifying potential solutions to practical problems or establishing a deeper understanding of why a phenomenon occurs often reveals exciting research ideas.

Kaela Kee, Riley Kelly, Amanda Bettencourt and Josh Morris researched how individuals interpret horoscopes depending on their locus of control and perception of their future success

Once students begin to develop an idea of what they might be interested in studying, Dr. Stiegler-Balfour likes to use a “speed dating” activity where students chat with classmates to see whether there are overlaps in interests. Ultimately, this results in students being put into groups of 3 or 4 to work on developing a research idea together. Students are involved in all aspects of research from determining a research idea and forming a hypothesis to developing the study materials, data collection and analysis, and interpreting the results.

The students who come up with the best projects are invited to present their findings at the CAS Undergraduate Research Symposium at the end of the academic year. The CAS Undergraduate Symposium is one of the biggest events on campus each spring and students from all departments get to present all the wonderful work they have done in their classes and research labs throughout the academic year. For more information about the CAS Undergraduate Symposium also see this UNE news release (https://www.une.edu/news/2019/2019-college-arts-and-sciences-spring-research-symposium-awards-announced).

Most students who have taken the class would probably agree that this is one of the more challenging classes they will take during their college career; however, many students find it also very rewarding. All you need to do is look at their proud faces when you see them presenting their projects. Dr. Stiegler-Balfour had a fantastic lineup of students complete four different research projects in her Research Methods class in Spring 2019. The students worked extremely hard to put together their research projects which ranged from examining the impact of a person’s experience on their perceptions of different dog breeds to examining whether the use of positive self-affirmation can offset stress in college students.

Thanks to Dr. S-B for all she does with the students and for the information for this post.

My internship working on the Adolescent Unit at Sweetzer

A guest post by Zane Getman about his experience as part of PSY 300 Internship

My internship at Sweetser during Spring 2019 was both rewarding and challenging. Sweetser is a prominent behavioral healthcare organization with several residential locations throughout Maine. While there are resources provided to adults in need of Sweetser’s services, Sweetser mostly provides assistance to children, adolescents, and their families. Recipients of Sweetser’s care services are often adolescents suffering from trauma, depression, ADHD, and behavioral/cognitive issues.

As an intern I was essentially a Youth and Family Counselor in training at one of their sites in Saco. I worked in the Portland Adolescent Unit (PAU) which included eight adolescent boys. Sweetser creates individualized programs based on the clients’ strengths and tendencies in order to help them overcome certain behaviors that prevent them from thriving in a public setting. In my unit, the clients shared difficulty with self-restraint, sexualized behaviors, and oppositional defiance to any type of authority. My role at Sweetser was to build connections with each client to identify their strengths and weaknesses to help them overcome these behavioral issues, as well as to work with my fellow staff members to provide empathic and effective care.

There are many valuable things that I learned throughout this internship, but the most significant one to me has been the importance of establishing connections. The adolescent boys that I spent 120 hours with all required different types of attention, and it is impossible to meaningfully help them make progress if you are unable to build a trusting relationship with them individually. At first whenever I would try to intervene if a client was having a rough week or try to offer them advice, they were not receptive to it at all. However, as I became more present in the unit and the clients, and I got to know each other more, we began to respect one another and I became popular among them as a staff member that they would gravitate to. Many times I would simply listen to their issues stemming from their families, homes, school, and peers, but many of the adolescents in my unit do not open up to adults often.

With this in mind I was able to recognize the position I found myself in as a youth and family counselor, and they began to view whatever words I had to offer with value. Another aspect of my internship that I valued is empathy. Understanding that many of these children are spending their childhoods in these cottages (one client in my unit has been at Sweetser for 7 years, and will be until he is discharged at age 18), away from their families, should be taken into consideration deciding to work there. However tough I may think my schedule is during the week, I tried my best to leave it all at the door when I would walk into my unit and begin working with kids that had been living there for years without an idea of when they will finish their program and return home.

This internship has also influenced my potential future career path by introducing me to people involved in various different fieldwork positions based in psychology. I mostly worked alongside other Youth and Family Counselors in my unit and I learned that they are some of the most important people at residential sites like Sweetser because they are the ones that the clients spend a majority of their time with. I was also introduced to the first licensed clinician I have ever met; Jess is the LC assigned to the Portland Adolescent Unit and she is amazing at what she does. She included me in individual meetings with the clients where we discussed their progress in school and managing their behavioral tendencies. In some of these meetings the clients’ families would be present, and I was allowed to sit in with them and listen to their thoughts as well. During my internship I also met with various behavioral therapists, sometimes walking individual clients from my unit to their offices for their weekly meetings to discuss how their medication routines were going.

Another aspect of fieldwork in psychology that I have been exposed to throughout my internship is the position of a caseworker. I was present during an admissions meeting for a new client, and this meeting consisted of myself, my unit’s licensed clinician, the new client, his family, and also his caseworker. She represented him in this meeting similarly to how a lawyer represents a client in court; she was knowledgeable of his weaknesses and approved of Sweetser’s program that was intended to improve his behaviors. Having met people in all of these mentioned positions and seeing how they do their job in the field of psychology has been helpful in showing me a variety of potential future career options that I will consider as I continue my studies.            

Working in a unit where the primary focus is rehabilitating adolescent’s overly sexualized behaviors, I have seen issue firsthand that I learned about at UNE. Most of these concepts are recalled from my sophomore year when I enrolled in Abnormal Psychology, which include paraphilia, oppositional defiance disorder, sociopathic behaviors, trauma/abuse, and just overall lack of respect for the boundaries of others. All of the boys in PAU have violated others’ boundaries in some form and are prone to respond defiantly or violently to authority, which relates to what I learned about oppositional defiance disorder being common in many young boys. Some have experienced or witnessed abuse in their family backgrounds, which can explain why they believe their behaviors are justified when done to others since it was what they were exposed to during very crucial developmental stages of their early lives. In Abnormal Psychology we thoroughly studied paraphilia, another concept that I have noticed is a common theme in many of my unit’s clients’ backgrounds as well. Overall, working at Sweetser and with these children was an eye-opening experience in how it introduced me to the field of psychology in the real world, as well as brought many concepts that I had studied over the years at UNE to life before me.

Our thanks to Zane for sharing his thoughts about his internship experience. All psychology majors complete at least one internship, PSY 300, as part of their degree. In this class they work directly with a faculty supervisor who helps them make connections between their work on site and the concepts they are learning about in their coursework.