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Michelle ('16) interned this summer with Elite DNA Comprehensive Therapy as a part of SIGP.

Michelle (WCAS ’17) interned this summer with Elite DNA Comprehensive Therapy as a part of SIGP.

Michelle Pickett is a rising junior in WCAS, pursuing a major in Cognitive Science and a minor in Human Communication Sciences. She is studying to become a Speech-Language Pathologist and interned this summer with Elite DNA Comprehensive Therapy as a part of the Summer Internship Grant Program (SIGP).

When I began my internship at Elite DNA Comprehensive Therapy this summer, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. I knew I would be observing speech therapy sessions and helping with office paperwork and their day camp, but I could have never imagined that I would make the connections I have not only with the therapists, but with the clients as well. To say this internship has been a learning-experience is an understatement. It has been so much more. I cannot begin to list the new skills and techniques that I have acquired at this clinic, but what will remain with me most is the rewarding feeling you experience when you see progress being made and you realize the impact that the therapists have on these kids’ lives. This feeling is what has solidified my interest in working with children as a speech pathologist.

Elite DNA is a clinic that provides speech and occupational therapy as well as mental health services. Their focus is mainly on children, but some adults are seen as well. During the summer, they also offer an enrichment day camp for younger children. In a job description it might say that my responsibilities include scanning and uploading patient documents, helping in their enrichment camp, and shadowing speech pathologists. While these are my daily tasks, they manifest themselves in very different ways. One day I may be finger painting and making paper animals, while others I may be on the floor building towers and racing cars. This internship has taught me that speech therapy is more than alphabet flashcards and evaluations. While these are important pieces, simple play can be just as useful when integrated with traditional therapy. I have learned that, sometimes, letting the child lead can foster the most effective learning opportunities.

This internship has provided me with hands-on experience for my future career. My advice for students pursuing internships in this field is to not be afraid to personally reach out to clinics that you have an interest in and ask to shadow. In this field, hands-on experience is what can distinguish you from others when applying to graduate school, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and call. I also found it helpful to intern in a clinic that offers occupational and behavioral therapy as I had the opportunity to observe some of those sessions as well. This allowed me to learn about different types of therapy and to see firsthand how they complement each other.

Overall, this internship has taught me much more than I expected and has left me with an increased confidence in my career path, knowledge that cannot be learned from textbooks, and new friends that have made this experience unforgettable.