In summer 2013, Karyn Kraska interned at Maryville Academy in
Des Plaines, Illinois, a non-profit organization that is committed to helping
children and teens in need. Karyn concentrated on working in a residential home for teenage boys with behavioral and psychological diagnoses, and she helped clients with recreational activities, managing behaviors, and following their treatment plans.
Describe your day-to-day experiences.
On a daily basis, I interacted a lot with the clients. I would play board games and basketball with them and also help them if they were in crisis or having a problem. I acted as part of a support system and implemented rules. I was also included in treatment team meetings that helped plan the therapeutic treatment course for each of the clients.
Additionally, I helped with managing Medicaid billings, the youth's allowance, and the program's monthly budget. Because Maryville is a non-profit agency, the Medicaid program is crucial for the program to continue to receive funding.
Can you cite an example of how your in-classroom and/or out-of-the-classroom experiences at Knox benefited you in the internship?
Knox, in general, has helped me gain confidence that benefitted me when working with the clients. My psychology classes, in particular, have helped me to better understand human behavior. They also helped me understand what clients' diagnoses meant and how best to interact with them.
How do you think this internship experience will benefit you in terms of your education, future career plans, personal development, etc.?
This internship has helped me understand my strengths and weaknesses when working in clinical psychology and with people. Also, the experience has helped me to better understand the direction of my future career. I think that my experience interning will benefit me when I apply for graduate schools because of how hands-on my experience was.
What inspired you to pursue the internship?
I decided to look into an internship because I felt that it was important to have some field experience before deciding exactly what I want to do with my career. Additionally, Knox requires that its students take part in some sort of experiential learning program. I thought the internship at Maryville would be a great experience and would help fulfill this requirement.
What did you learn from your internship?
The most important thing that I learned from my internship was that every little action makes a difference. Because I worked with a population that came from backgrounds where the clients were not used to receiving stable, reliable care, everything I did mattered. By being consistent and supportive toward the clients throughout my internship, I helped the clients learn that there are people who can be trusted and who value their well-being.