Psychology internship program gives undergrads graduate-level training
Amanda Barry, at center, works with students at Mendez Elementary for her psychology internship.
By Billi London-Gray
Job competition can be intense for new college graduates. Having professional experience can make a huge difference for job applicants. Thanks to Texas State psychology professor Robyn Rogers, several students get a leg up each semester through the Psychology Undergraduate Internship program.
“The program is very selective,” Rogers says. “These employers are just thrilled with our students. They’ve wanted to hire them straight on.”
Rogers, a 29-year member of the Texas State faculty, has been coordinating the internship program for decades. She’s built strong relationships with many organizations in the San Marcos area where her students can gain valuable work experience. ResCare Premier, San Marcos CISD, Roxanne’s House, Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center, Rural Talent Search, LiveOak Living Community and the Austin Suicide Hotline give Texas State students hands-on learning experience each semester.
“They get to apply everything they’ve learned in psychology up to this point to see if it’s what they want for life,” Rogers says. “Many of my students find their niche this way.”
The requirements for the program are demanding, but a student receives three credit hours for PSYC 4396 at the completion of the internship. Student must work on the site 120 hours over the course of the semester, which averages around 10-12 hours per week. Interns – about nine students per semester – meet as a group with Rogers and individually with their site supervisors each week. Their additional assignments consist of work logs and papers related to their experiences.
Amanda Barry, a senior at Texas State, got an internship at Mendez Elementary in San Marcos for the fall 2010 semester. Her internship experience has confirmed her desire to counsel children.
“I want to work with kids doing clinical psychology,” Barry says. “I love the job. I love kids.”
Barry works alongside Janice Niemiec, a counselor at Mendez Elementary, doing classroom guidance. She helps young students work through a variety of behavioral issues.
“We work on respect, friendship, trustworthiness, safety, self-esteem – basic core goals,” Barry says. “Sometimes we do mediation and mentoring, which is one-on-one, and sometimes guidance is done with whole classes. It’s all interactive.”
Rogers says the Psychology Undergraduate Internship program is focused on helping her students stand out when they continue on to graduate studies or start their careers.
“It gives undergraduates the chance to gain graduate-level field experience,” Rogers says. “It really is a unique opportunity for them.”
Many Texas State departments offer internships with class credit. For more information about student internships, check out the Student Guide to Internships or contact the Office of Career Services at 512.245.2645 or CareerServices@txstate.edu.