News

October 8, 2008

Psychology Course Provides Real World Learning Opportunities

Students serve internships at organizations around the Lehigh Valley

This semester, seven psychology majors are taking their classroom knowledge into the workplace by interning at locations throughout the Lehigh Valley.

Alan Childs, professor of psychology, regularly teaches an advanced applied psychology class for junior and senior psychology majors, in which students may choose to participate in a coordinating internship program.

In addition to regular coursework, the students must put in a minimum of 80 hours per semester at their placement. “These internships are not simply ‘shadowing’ experiences,” says Childs. “Each student is appropriately engaged with the activities of the placement site.”

Carissa Latona ’09 (Deer Park, N.Y.) works at Lehigh Valley Child Care, College Hill in the pre-kindergarten classroom. “In terms of my future plans, I have known for a long while that I would like to work with children,” says Latona. “This internship provides the opportunity for me to immerse myself in an early childhood environment. It also aides me in my ongoing research of birth order and its influence on behavior. Throughout the semester, I plan to build on past research by observing early childhood behavior and examining possible birth order effects.”

Danielle Harris ’09 (Manhasset, N.Y.) is interning at the Historic Hotel Bethlehem, focusing on human resources. “My major project is to examine whether a simple test can screen for the ‘hospitality gene’ to determine if job applicants are likely to succeed in guest service within the hotel industry,” says Harris. “I am currently researching psychological tests to determine which assessment would be most useful in the interviewing process, and I am also assisting to revamp the hotel’s general interview guidelines and questionnaire, as well as employee performance review evaluations.”

According to Childs, the applied psychology program allows students to not only learn more about potential careers, but also to see how their course work in psychology has applications to the real world.

“I am always impressed at the degree of involvement the students develop in their placements, and how much many of them contribute to the organization over the semester. They often complete projects that supply meaningful solutions to a problem or provide insight into concerns the organization may have.”

“By the end of the semester,” says Childs, “most students gain confidence in their talents along with a greater insight as to what contributions they want to make in their lives. Many say it is a ‘life-altering’ experience in one way or another, and it is very gratifying to see that kind of outcome for any course.”

Other students serving internships this semester are: Cailey Binkley ’09 (Marietta,Ga.) at KidsPeace, Mariana Bazan ’09 (Lima, Peru) at the Third Street Alliance, Lauren Costa ’09 (Islip, N.Y.) at Warren Hospital Counseling for Drug Rehabilitation, Heather Goldstein ’09 (Berkeley Heights, N.J.) at the guidance office of Easton Area Middle School, and Marie Stavrosky ’10 (Bethlehem, Pa.) in the art therapy program at Sacred Heart Hospital.

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