It’s with a heavy heart that we bid farewell to summer this week! For us Concentration year folks, classes and our new field placements began last week, and summer already feels like it never happened. I spent my summer in Chapel Hill, and am so glad that I stuck around!
Once classes wrapped up in April, I began an internship with the Center for Health Policy and Inequalities Research at Duke University (thankfully I did not have to be surrounded by Blue Devils during basketball season!).
This internship gave me the opportunity to assist a team of 4 (including 2 MSWs from UNC!) as they wrapped up a four-year research project. The project sought to assess the impact of a State Bridge Counseling intervention on the re-engagement in medical care for people living with HIV/AIDS. It dovetailed perfectly with my interest in HIV, as well as my field placement at Under One Roof last year. The team let me sit in on interviews, create interview guides, clean up transcripts, create nodes, and code interviews. Even though I was only there twice a week, my contributions felt valuable, and I had a really fulfilling experience.
I also took classes this summer, to lighten my workload and leave a little extra time to train for my first marathon in November (eek) and apply for jobs in the spring. I took Trauma and Violence, Motivational Interviewing, and Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs (ATOD). ATOD was the first online class I’ve ever taken, and it was the perfect way to be productive during the summer! We had class assignments due each week, but everything was self-paced so I could work around my internship and travel plans as much as I needed. Trauma & Violence was a pretty heavy subject to take, especially during summer “vacation”. But it was taught by Dr. Stephanie Francis, the director of Volunteer & Intern Development at InterAct, which made all the difference. Her wealth of first-hand experience and passion for the topic made me excited to go to class each week (no easy task when class is from 9am-4pm!). Motivational Interviewing was a shorter class, and provided my peers and I with plenty of time to observe and practice skills in a mock-therapeutic environment. Practicing being a therapist in front of my classmates was nerve-racking, but was the best way to help me learn!
As sad as I am that summer is over, I am so excited to be reunited with my cohort, and begin my field placement with Orange County Child Protective Services!