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It’s Wednesday morning. I wake up, get ready, and head out the door. I think about my day as I ride down NC-54 toward 3-C Family Services. Who will I help today? Who will help me? What will I learn, and what will I teach others? At my internship, these questions are provided with novel answers each day at the clinic.

As a third-year student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill studying psychology and minoring in biology, I’ve learned about various subjects. Whether it’s the physiological mechanisms behind a muscle twitch or Piaget’s stages of development, I’ve acquired extensive information about human nature and its biological concepts. With my courses providing a foundation of support, I’ve found the best way for me to learn is through applying what I’ve learned in real-life settings. Fortunately, 3-C Family Services shares this value, and I have been exposed to experiences that expand beyond weekly lectures within the classroom.

Before my Gil Internship, I worked seven months as a Registered Behavioral Technician (RBT) at Compleat Kidz, a pediatric therapy clinic. As an RBT, I worked in one-on-one sessions with children ages 2-9 with autism and developmental disabilities. I taught various skills, ranging from how to sign for “help” in ASL to assisting in developing fine motor skills. I used a strengths-based approach with each child; every session had laughs and lessons. Facilitating each child’s growth was a privilege, and this position solidified my love for child development.

I’m currently a volunteer research assistant at the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities within the Infant Brain Imaging Study. My tasks include pulling, organizing, and entering longitudinal data within the LORIS Software. I’ve become familiarized with various infant and adolescent assessments, which I’ve connected to my internship at 3-C Family Services. With this position, I’ll have the chance to observe behavioral assessments and become familiarized with the eye-tracking software TOBII.

Through my combined clinical and research experience, I entered my internship with 3-C Family Services with a strong foundation and was ready to hit the ground running. Within my first day, I was sitting in on an intake session and scribing for Dr. Lori Schweickert, a psychiatrist specializing in child and adolescent disorders. After sending in my first intake report, Dr. Schweickert returned a marked-up copy and some advice. Rather than letting this discourage me, I was excited; I had a mentor ready to teach me the ropes of clinical work with honesty and encouragement. With over five intake evaluations completed, I’m continuing to learn the ropes of clinical writing with the advice of Dr. Schweickert. With each round, I’m growing and improving. While I can learn about family and child dynamics within my courses, scribing sessions with the parents of the children has given me a unique insight into the parent-child dynamic beyond the classroom.

Beyond their psychiatric clinicians, 3-C has a diverse staff, including PhDs, PsyDs, LCMHCAs, and a dietitian. Through my time at the office and the weekly staff meetings, I’ve gotten the opportunity to form relationships with the staff and ask questions about their professional journey. Specifically, I’ve been working alongside Dr. Meagan Padro in forming group courses and collecting client interests. For an ADHD women’s support group, I created a 9-page outline of potential resources, discussion prompts, and group activities. This came after a meeting with Dr. Padro and Dr. Sheras, where we discussed the course logistics, giving me insight into the inner workings of the creation of group classes. I assisted in the recruitment stage of group classes, making over 80 phone calls to interested families for a social skills group.

Most recently, Dr. Schweickert introduced me to the VR eye-tracking device, EYE-SYNC. After running through a few trials together, she allowed me to practice administering an eye-tracking assessment on another clinician. With this device, Dr. Schweickert studies eye tracking in children and adolescents with ADHD. As my time at 3-C Family Services continues, I can administer this assessment to the study participants. That same day, I was given the task of manually entering a 478-question MMPI-A assessment. As someone interested in various child assessment strategies, I approached this task with abundant excitement and curiosity. I learned about these tests and assessment strategies in my courses, and now I’m fortunate enough to see their application in a clinical setting.

As my time as an undergraduate ends, I’m beginning to prepare for my future. I plan to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology focusing on child development, specializing my research in allied autism studies. With my love for psychology, I intend to pursue it in every way possible – as a researcher, clinician, and mentor for upcoming psychologists. The staff at 3-C have a rich love for their work, and their passion and cohesion inspire me. I’m thankful for this experience as a Gil Intern and excited to see where my academic journey takes me in the years to come. While I won’t always be an undergraduate driving down NC-54 on the way to my Gil Internship, I will forever remember the lessons, experiences, and memories 3-C Family Services has provided me.





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