We recently caught up with Danielle Cormier, a 4th year student in the Department of Psychology who has spent the last year as an Undergraduate Psychology Intern at Millard Health. In this role, she administers biofeedback and neurofeedback to individuals experiencing either chronic pain, traumatic psychological injury or head trauma. She is currently conducting research into Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and its effects on these populations as part of the research project component of the internship.
A: My time with the Undergraduate Internship in Psychology has given me the confidence to approach circumstances which beforehand I would have only encountered in a textbook. My work has not only reinforced the material I have learned in my lectures, but has exposed me to an interdisciplinary perspective in integrating mental health and well-being to a wide population, which I otherwise would never have been exposed to.
Q: Are you happy you took on this experience?
A: I am so happy I decided to enroll in the internship not only because of the gratifying work that I get to do every day, but because of the people I have met in the industry who act as my own personal cheerleaders as I complete my year with them and move further along in my educational career.
The advice I have received from my interdisciplinary team has been invaluable, and the motivation I receive from them all not only pushes me to work as hard as I can while I’m here, but to continue to demonstrate an appreciation for excellence in my career afterwards.
Q: How has doing an internship affected your future career plans?
A: The internship has solidified my desire to continue working in the field of psychology, and increased the confidence I have in myself to handle stressful situations and cases. Coming into the internship, I thought I knew precisely where I wanted to go with my career, but I have now been opened up to new topics and have managed to further fine-tune this vision with the various experiences I’ve had while working.
Q: Would you recommend this experience to other students?
A: I would greatly recommend this experience to other students not only for the invaluable hands-on experience you will receive, nor for the significant professional relationships I have made, but additionally for the year the internship has given me to examine myself.
Having a year to yourself and your work gives you the time to fully envision a plan for your future, to engage in activities you otherwise wouldn’t have while in school, and to take a breath to fully appreciate the academic excellence that the University of Alberta provides. The thought of finishing a full year at a place at which I have so greatly enjoyed working can make me a bit sad, but I am also filled with a sense of accomplishment in the changes I have made within myself and the people I have worked with, and an excitement to return to university with a fresh mind and a new perspective.
Thanks to Danielle for sharing her thoughts with us! For more information about the Psychology Internship Program, click here. The program is currently accepting applications for May 2015. The deadline to apply is February 28, 2015.