Kaity Dallas, pursuing a BDP certificate in Children & Society, spent the spring semester as an intern with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Austin, where she worked children and youth programs conducting community outreach, compiling data, and attending meetings and events with community stakeholders. Through this internship, Kaity had the opportunity to play an integral role in NAMI’s Ending the Silence program.
How did you find your internship?
I heard about NAMI because of a presentation in an Abnormal Psychology class several semesters ago, and I recently found out they had a presence on campus at UT. I brought my resume to a volunteer information session, and it turned out that my schedule was perfect for an internship there.
Describe the work you did in your internship.
I was the children and youth program intern. I conducted outreach, compiled data and information, researched activities to further improve several programs, attended meetings and events with community stakeholders, and played an integral role in improving the Ending the Silence program.
What was the most rewarding aspect of your Connecting Experience?
The most rewarding aspect of the internship was being a presenter for the Ending the Silence presentation, which is a program that NAMI Austin offers for those living with mental illness to share their story of recovery with youth in middle and high school. I got to share my personal story, dispel myths about mental illness, and facilitate discussions with the kids about how to help themselves, their friends, and learn some warning signs of possible mental illnesses.
In what ways has this Connecting Experience shaped your plans for the future?
My career goal has been to become an adolescent clinical therapist for quite some time, and this internship helped me feel empowered that I have chosen the perfect field for me. During this internship, I also made close ties with individuals that can help me further my career after I finish grad school.
Discuss the relationship you had with your faculty mentor and how they helped you during this Connecting Experience.
Dr. Repp and I exchanged email correspondence every other week as a semi-blog about my experiences at NAMI. She challenged me to work harder at my self-care, helped me reflect on my experiences, and encouraged me to communicate more effectively with my internship supervisor.