The Gil Internship Program prepared me for the clinical psychology experience, and introduced me to the world of investigative and innovative research! As a Gil Intern in Fall 2017, I was placed in 3C Family Services, a private practice clinic in Cary, North Carolina. As an intern, I was able to participate in the research process by conducting literature reviews, coding and sorting data for existing studies, and attend trainings on behavioral interventions. Most notable, however, was my unique experience of assisting in facilitating social skills groups focused on improving cooperation, compromise, and friendship building in children and adolescents. With each session of the group, my confidence in my clinical capabilities has grown, and lead me to my current position at The Focus Foundation, a nonprofit that does both research and advocacy for patients and families diagnosed with rare neurogenetic disorders.
Through my current position, I have the unique opportunity to participate in both clinical and research domains. A typical clinical day consists of administration of neurodevelopmental assessment to measure cognition, motor development, and speech and language skills in children and adolescents. Then, my colleagues and I collect and analyze data in order to investigate the impact of several factors on development in specific genetic disorders, such as 47,XXY (Klinefelter’s Syndrome). Through this research, I have been able to explore several topics in relation to neurogenetics, including anxiety, social pragmatic language, prenatal diagnostic and screening tools, and orthopedic health.
I believe that my time as a Gil Intern allowed me to truly understand the intersectional nature of psychological health and well-being. With the expansive range of topics, my current position has allowed me to gain further interest in understanding the interaction between neurogenetics, development, cognition, and behavior and the resulting effect on psychology. In the next few years, I hope to continue my career by applying for clinical psychology programs to further explore my interest in both clinical and research work!