Hello everyone! My name is Penelope Alberdi and I am a junior from Cornelius, North Carolina, double majoring in psychology and Asian studies with a Korean concentration. I am thrilled to describe my experience as a Gil Intern this fall!
Upon entering UNC as a freshman, I was slightly unsure of my interests. I was previously a neuroscience major until I joined the Pep Lab, a social psychology lab, under Dr. Barbara Frederickson, and worked on the PRAI study which focused on how individuals can develop positive behavior goals through interactions with AI. I was given the opportunity to guide individuals through sessions and work with other research assistants and developed a fondness for psychology. I wanted to further develop my interests so I joined the Rodriguez-Romaguera Lab led by Dr. Jose Rodriguez-Romaguera in the spring of my sophomore year. Under my mentor’s supervision, I was able to gain hands-on experience in behavioral neuroscience by performing work involving mouse brains. I wanted to continue my journey in psychology and joined a different study within the Pep Lab: the BIPR study involving positivity resonance between couples in videos under Jieni Zhou. It wasn’t until I was accepted into the Gil Internship Program that I knew I wanted to pursue clinical psychology.
I was matched with the UNC Psychology and Neuroscience Department Community Clinic under the supervision of Dr. Jen Youngstrom. The Community Clinic offers a variety of services ranging from adult, child and family, couple, and assessment services. Graduate students train under the clinical psychology doctoral program and provide affordable and excellent psychological services to the Triangle community. The clinic has two locations, the Evergreen House and the Finley Community Research Center and Clinic, which is where I worked at. Dr. Youngstrom is a clinical professor, a licensed psychologist in North Carolina, the Director of Clinical Services, and the Director of Assessment. I was both fortunate and grateful for the opportunity to work under such an incredible and inspiring individual.
Working at the clinic has provided me with incredible experiences. During my time as an intern, I was assigned a multitude of tasks. As therapists work with a variety of clients, I was tasked with providing childcare for clients who came in for child evaluations or for general sessions with their children. I also collected voicemail data and noted potential client information for clinic members to reference. I had the opportunity to attend clinic meetings and observed clinic professionals discuss a variety of topics ranging from new client allocations to therapists, funding, general updates, etc. I also learned about the different assessments the clinic offers from a class that I attended with other graduate students. Finally, I was given the opportunity to work on an assessment templates project under the supervision of Dr. Youngstrom and another graduate student working at the clinic, Josh Langfus. For this project, I was tasked with creating an updated, diverse collection of assessment templates for clinic members to distribute to clients. The templates were categorized based on age, gender, and type of IQ test, and I was given more insight into how assessment tests look like.
Working at the clinic and being a Gil Intern has truly been an amazing experience. I was able to learn from incredible professionals and engage with other inspiring interns. Furthermore, I loved interacting with the clinic members and greatly enjoyed the welcoming clinic atmosphere. The weekly classes with my fellow interns were also wonderful and I loved getting to know them. I would love to thank Dr. Steven Buzinski and Emily Dolegowski for granting me the opportunity to become a Gil Intern and Dr. Jen Youngstrom, Josh Langfus, and Emily Walsh for their kindness and patience during my time working at the clinic. I hope to apply my experiences in future endeavors and am excited to see where clinical psychology will take me. Overall, I am grateful to have been a Gil Intern and I hope the best for the new cohort in the spring!