Monday, September 26, 2016

Internship Spotlight -- Dendara Oakleaf

As a psychology major in my final semester, I can honestly say I would be lost if I hadn’t completed an internship last semester. From January until the end of April, I interned at Ashland Parenting Plus (APP). Normally, APP interns are social work majors. In fact, I was the very first psychology major to intern at APP. This was a perfect fit for me, though, as the direction I had been planning on going with my degree overlaps between psychology and social work. APP is a nonprofit organization that works with at-risk adolescents. Although there are multiple ways in which APP accomplishes this, the program I was most involved with was the girl empowerment groups in Ashland County Schools.

Twice per week, I went to either the Ashland High School or Middle School and met with groups of adolescent girls to discuss topics such as relationships, communication skills, and human reproduction. Additionally, the girls would discuss any personal problems they were currently experiencing, and we would work as a group to figure out potential ways to best handle the situation. Ultimately, the groups served as an escape from reality for the girls while teaching them skills to help buffer them from any potentially harmful circumstances.

Through these groups, I gained experiences that helped confirm the direction I was already planning to go with my undergraduate in psychology and a more specific direction to go with my future education. This internship not only gave me experience working with adolescents, but helped me to discover a passion for helping adolescents who have experienced trauma. All thanks to this internship, I have been able to definitively decide to pursue my Masters in Social Work. Even though I am not continuing my education in the field of psychology, the AU Psychology Department has provided a solid background that will help to enrich my future in social work.