Internships provide you with valuable opportunitities to gain professional experience, confidence, and skills and allow you to better understand your own strengths, interests, and values. They also help you establish your career network and find potential mentors.
Internships can be paid, unpaid, for credit or not-for-credit, and can take place in Burlington, out-of-state, or even in another country - but in any internship, you can expect to learn by doing, to develop new professional skills and experience, and to network with professionals in the industry.
Internship provides hands-on experience in patient care
Samantha (Sam) Cilli ’21 discovered how the theoretical knowledge she picked up in her UVM psychology courses—including a “Cognitive Neuroscience” class—is being applied in real-world treatment settings. She completed a summer internship at Rhode Island Hospital’s Partial Hospitalization Program in Providence. “It allowed me gain experience in a clinical setting, which directly connects to my goal of becoming a neurologist,” Cilli said. The Partial Hospitalization Program is designed to provide intensive, short-term treatment for people with acute psychiatric concerns. After treatment, patients return home for the evening. She observed group therapy sessions of individuals with a variety of mental illnesses, administered diagnostic exams, and shadowed two physicians. “This experience has opened my eyes to the prevalence of mental illness, and the stigma placed on individuals with mental health issues,” Cilli says. ”Many of these individuals are normal, kind people, and it is extremely rewarding being able to observe their progress during treatment.”
Exploring technical applications to neuroscience
Sophomore Zane Russom’s 2019 summer internship was an opportunity to study abroad while discovering new perspectives related to his neuroscience major. He worked for NeuroTechX, a non-profit organization that creates educational opportunities online to advance neuro-technology headquartered in Montreal. Russom sees himself bound for med school, but his summer experience has opened his eyes to industrial applications of neuroscience and technology. He worked on creating a worldwide NeuroTechX event calendar, identified important grants to support student clubs worldwide, curated speakers to aid NeuroTechX’s webinar series, and even contributed chapters to NeuroTechX’s upcoming book The NeuroTech Primer. “As someone who has lived in Vermont my entire life, stepping outside of my comfort zone was exactly what I needed to expand my intellectual and professional horizons,” Russom says. Meanwhile, he is learning what his NeuroTechX advisor calls “complementary skills,” including organization, perseverance, and timeliness. “This will help my future success, no matter what field I pursue.”
The education of a health care leader
A native of Haddam, Conn., Leianna Dolce ’20 is a neuroscience major with minors in emergency medical services and behavioral change health studies. Leianna has her sights set on medical school and wants to gain as much clinical and research experience as possible. She got that chance in the summer of 2019, interning at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford as Lead Chief Research Assistant and Director of Young Learners. In particular, she learned about managing people and projects—she was responsible for training new research assistants in the CT Children’s Emergency Department on sexual health, cyberbullying, nutrition, transitions to adult care providers and cognitive assessments. She also began work on her own project "Exploring Adolescent Attitudes About Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) in Relation to Media Exposure Pilot Study" which will serve as the core of her UVM honors thesis. “I’ve taken many classes both for my major and minors which have helped prepare me to complete clinical research. On the other hand, I am also taking many skills from my internship back to the classroom for senior year. Being in charge of over five studies and ten research assistants has taught me even greater organization, responsibility, and appreciation for all the work it takes to do research.”