Fitzgerald Gains Experience as School Counselor Intern
By Sarah Schwartz ’10
Cristen Fitzgerald ’10 is a Counseling Psychology major on the Community Counseling track. Pursuing a dual concentration in School Counseling for Secondary Certification, she will graduate with both an M.A. for licensure and certification in May, not to mention an immense amount of work experience to put on her résumé.
Each concentration requires the completion of an internship, and Fitzgerald has made the most of the opportunity. As a part of her Community Counseling concentration, Fitzgerald interned at John F. Kennedy Community Mental Health and Mental Retardation Center in Center City Philadelphia, where her role as a Psychology Intern gave her the chance to be self-sufficient. She was challenged with an independent caseload facilitating individual clients as well as outpatient groups.
Fitzgerald’s School Counseling concentration led her to the Hill-Freedman Middle School in the Northwest Region of the Philadelphia School District. She spent her time working with groups and classroom lessons, as well as individual students on academic, personal and career-related concerns applicable to specific stages of adolescent development.
“My role in the school was extremely hands-on. I was acting fairly independently as a School Counselor Intern with direct supervision from the professional School Counselor,” she says.
Interning in the Philadelphia area, Fitzgerald made good use of hte networking opportunities available to her. She made connections that will prove vital as she seeks employment. The relationships she has built already have made the job search less arduous, and she says she has gained invaluable insight from working professionals in the field.
Her advice to students seeking internship opportunities is simple: Mold the experience to help you achieve your goals and challenge yourself.
“Interning gives you the hands-on job experience necessary before entering the professional workforce. The pre-professional experience gives you tons of opportunities while still having instructors and site supervisors to assist you along the journey.”