Internship Spotlight


Alaina Spencer

Major: Psychology
Host Organization: Children in Crisis
Location: Fort Walton, FL 

When I was little I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to be when I grew up. It took me until my junior year of high school that I decided I wanted to do something that would benefit other people and help them succeed in life. My guidance counselors always helped me keep high grades throughout school and always provided me with resources to keep improving myself. I wanted to be like them and give chances to more students like myself; therefore I chose psychology. Now that I am in my major, I realize psychology can give you so many other opportunities to help people other counseling. Berry’s psych department has given me many ideas for future possible careers after college.

My supervisor at the Career Center, Sue Tarpley, provided me with a pamphlet about the Children in Crisis internship. I wanted to gain experience in the career field that I’ll potentially be going into. I also wanted to make sure that working with kids and working in the foster care system was something I wanted to do because learning in the classroom and experiencing the real thing is very different. I found out that it definitely is something I enjoy.

We were told that we were going to be trained to be in a social work atmosphere, hanging out with the foster children, and helping the staff members. Much to our surprise, we accomplished beyond what we were told in the job description. For the first two weeks at the Children in Crisis, we were trained in how to interact with foster children, learned about different reasons why the kids might be there, and read multiple novels to get our minds comfortable to what we might encounter. Needless to say, the training was absolutely necessary. After getting into the swing of things and meeting each individual child, we were asked to substitute on the days house parents had their date nights and vacations. When put into that position, we were responsible for 6 kids each- we had to make sure they were fed, got their exercise, were clean, and asleep on time. Throughout the summer, house parents had the option to either take their kids to the CIC’s funded field trips or stay at home while we took the kids. A majority of the time, we were given the opportunity to take the children to the field trips. Each child was given educational packets for the summer. Before lunch, every child was expected to be in the clubhouse working on their packets. Our job was to teach them and guide them through these packets if they had trouble. By the end of the summer, we were able to learn why the children were placed at the CIC, the process and paperwork that goes into placement, and the job of social workers and counselors.

The most valuable part of interning for the CIC has been the knowledge I’ve gained from the staff and most importantly the children. The staff was super helpful by showing us the ropes and having the children treat us with the same authority as them. The children were the most valuable because they proved to me that even though they are going through some difficult times by being separated with their families they are still normal children, who enjoy doing everyday things that other kids do and they (most of them) treat their foster families with the same respect and care and love as a real family.

The biggest challenge for me was working with kids who knew they would be returning to their homes soon (with birth parents, etc.) They would form this mentality that they didn’t have to listen to anyone at CIC anymore because they were going home. They’re would be an increase in acting out from the children up until the day they left.

This internship showed me different career opportunities that I would love to have. I spent a lot of time with the Education Director and the Programs Director and by the end of it I would love to pursue a career in either of those fields with an organization like Children in Crisis.

Andy and I were asked to come back several times- not only by the staff but also the kids. We were also told that when the new positions are created within this year, that the organization would like to have us there as employees.

Advice to Other Students: Students should find an internship that they genuinely want to experience and learn about. Using the Career Center is a great way to find an internship related to your major or future career goals. When accepted as an intern, go into the internship with an open mind and be eager to learn!


Featured Stories BJonesBrittany Jones

Major: Psychology
Host Organization: Bekaert Corporation
Location: Rome, GA

When choosing my current major I was very unsure of what I wanted to do as a career. I ended up taking several psychology classes; I really enjoyed the content that I was learning in these classes. I was approaching the end of my sophomore year and I knew I needed to change majors, so I decided on Psychology. This decision was not based on a specific career, but based on my enjoyment of the Psychology classes I had already taken. I have since realized that my major does not dictate what specific career I will end up with when I graduate.

I found my internship through the Community and Internship office at Berry. I worked with Mr. Mark Kozera to apply for the internship, after I applied Georgia Power selected applicants to interview, and they chose me! I wanted to do an internship to broaden my experience. I have had a lot of great experience at Berry which has definitely prepared me for a career, however I wanted to experience the real world and learn about possible career options by interning. 

During this internship I was given the opportunity to work with the Vice President, External Affairs and Human Resources. As I have learned a lot from these three areas, I also reached out to other areas such as Sales, Marketing, and Payroll to really understand how the company works as a whole as well as some more career potentials.

With Human Resources I have been able to do some very unique things as an intern such as assist in the preparation of committees regarding onboarding, hiring, and training. As well as learn the aspects of performance reviews and employee feedback. While working with Human Resources I was able to assist in leading a focus group with 26 region employees to evaluate certain areas of the company. By displaying trust and quality work I have been given numerous opportunities in the Human Resource field.

Another great opportunity past my job description is working with our executive visits. Through my time at Georgia Power I demonstrated quality work that suited their culture and environment. Through this I was given many opportunities to coordinate and meet with our Executives from Atlanta. One of the opportunities was to bring our CFO, Tom Bishop, to Berry College for a get to know with President Briggs and a tour of the enterprises and technologies lab. 

The most valuable and my favorite part of this internship has been all of the networking opportunities. Not only have I been able to meet a wide range of employees from Georgia Power but I have also been able to participate in numerous meet and greets with Northwest Georgia and Atlanta employees from other business areas. 

The most challenging part of my experience has been switching back and forth between a Berry job and Georgia Power. This has been challenging because the environments and cultures are very different. By working each day in both places I have a very short amount of time to adjust to the culture of each position. It has been a great opportunity to learn about another work culture and experience it firsthand. 

This opportunity has helped me to determine what I would like to do when I graduate! Which is wonderful considering graduation is in May of 2016. This opportunity has taught me that I love the Human Resources field. This opportunity has given me a brief overview of Human Resources at Georgia Power and has also educated me on policies and procedures. This internship helped me gain experience and I am honored to say I have now accepted a fall internship in Human Resources at Bekaert. 

I was asked to “not forget about us” us is referred to as Georgia Power and to apply for a position near graduation. I have also received very positive feedback from my supervisor and established a great relationship with her. 

Advice for other Students: When finding an internship, research the company, see if you have any connections with the company, and do a mock interview to help prepare.


Andy Doan

Major: Psychology
Host Organization: Children in Crisis
Location: Fort Walton, FL   

Before I was a psychology major, I majored in biology and chemistry.  Coming into Berry, I was sure this was the major I wanted to keep until I graduated. After taking two year's worth of biology and chemistry courses, I decided to add a psychology course. Much to my surprise, I really enjoyed the introductory course and by next semester, I had another psych course added. That year I dropped the chemistry minor for a psychology minor. I became so fond of the interpersonal side of psychology, the close-knit community and devoted professors (not to imply biology department didn't have wonderful professors, because they definitely did), I changed my major to psychology, leaving biology as my minor. I found my internship through the Career Center and friends who also experienced the internship.

I wanted to do this internship specifically for the experience. I wanted to learn about social work and to understand the individual personalities and behaviors of foster children.

We were told that we were going to be trained to be in a social work atmosphere, hanging out with the foster children, and helping the staff members. Much to our surprise, we accomplished beyond what we were told in the job description.

For the first two weeks at the Children in Crisis, we were trained in how to interact with foster children, learned about different reasons why the kids might be there, and read multiple novels to get our minds comfortable to what we might encounter. Needless to say, the training was absolutely necessary.

After getting into the swing of things and meeting each individual child, we were asked to substitute on the days house parents had their date nights and vacations. When put into that position, we were responsible for 6 kids each- we had to make sure they were fed, got their exercise, were clean, and asleep on time. Throughout the summer, house parents had the option to either take their kids to the CIC’s funded field trips or stay at home while we took the kids. A majority of the time, we were given the opportunity to take the children to the field trips.

Each child was given educational packets for the summer. Before lunch, every child was expected to be in the clubhouse working on their packets. Our job was to teach them and guide them through these packets if they had trouble.

By the end of the summer, we were able to learn why the children were placed at the CIC, the process and paperwork that goes into placement, and the job of social workers and counselors. 

Learning about the children was probably the most valuable part of the experience. I learned that each individual child has a unique personality, past, and the strength to overcome the worst situations that has been thrown at them at such a young age. My expectation was to come into this internship with the expectation that I would be able to teach the children everything I knew of a “normal” life… however, that wasn’t the case… I didn’t have to teach them anything. These kids were no different from any other kid, they were all “normal” and they taught me more than I could teach them in two months. It’s incredible to learn about each child’s past and still see them smiling every day. Let me note that these kids range from the age of 6-17. Could you imagine how it feels or what you may think if you knew your parents have temporarily or permanently abandoned you because they didn’t have the sufficient funds to support you or the utter lack of responsibility to raise you? When I was at the CIC, I couldn’t imagine how each child felt- maybe because some of them are too young to realize the reality or the ones that do have already come to terms and acceptance? No matter the reason, how unique each child is, how different their backgrounds were, or how old they might be, each child shared the same characteristic of being able to persevere, endure and continue with their lives with the help of an organization that genuinely cares for them.

The most challenging aspect of my experience was learning how to work with kids with disabilities. There were children with autism, ODD (oppositional defiant disorder), learning disabilities, and children who came into the shelter with little to no house training.  

In the future, I would like to go to graduate school in the field of behavior and brain science. Having this internship and many more to come in combination with the connections made and my degree, I believe that it will help me get into a graduate studies program relating to the field mentioned.

Ms. Alaina and I were asked to come back several times- not only by the staff but also the kids. We were also told that when the new positions are created within this year, that the organization would like to have us there as employees. 

Advice for Students: Students should find an internship that they genuinely want to experience and learn about. Using the Career Center is a great way to find an internship related to your major or future career goals. When accepted as an intern, go into the internship with an open mind and be eager to learn!


Featured Stories RTreadawayRebecca Treadaway

Major: Exercise Science
Host Organization: Harbin Clinic LLC
Location: Rome, GA

As a humanities-minded person, I chose Exercise Science because I wanted to step outside of my comfort zone and learn a topic that has always interested me, but that I never had time to study - the human body and well-being. After visiting with Dr. Elmer in the Exercise Department, it seemed like a good fit.  Everyone in the department is excited about health and, well, so am I!

Networking and good luck got me my internship at Harbin Clinic.  After showing interest in Corporate Wellness, Michael McElveen, one of my supervisors and mentors at Berry set me up a meeting to talk to Harbin’s Director of Wellness, Sarah King.  My intentions were to just talk to her about her career, but she must have been impressed, because she offered me an internship!  Always be prepared 

I could say I needed to do the internship for my degree (that would be true), but I also understood the importance of building relationships and gaining insight into particular career pathways through intimate experiences.  As a rising senior, I still had no idea what I wanted to do post-graduation…so this was particularly important for me.  

To make my experience at Harbin valuable, Sarah King gave me complete communication control over a weight-loss and nutrition education program for Harbin employees called Harbin Healthy You.  Over the summer I have strengthened and communicated this program to over 200 Harbin employees.  In keeping, I have worked directly with Sarah King, Harbin Clinic Director of Wellness, and Marcy Pugliese, Registered Dietician, to provide program participants with specific behavior change recommendations, assist in setting lifestyle goals, helps tackle emotional and psychological issues associated with weight management and offer other resources that enabled participants to achieve their weight management goals.  In addition, I managed HarbinSTRONG social media, attended The Institute for HealthCare Consumerism Private Exchange Forum and worked directly with Harbin employees to create better lifestyles.   

As with most things, many of the participants who were a part of the program were not committed or happy.  Working with those individuals to meet their needs was the most challenging aspect of my experience.  

My internship with Harbin has given me real-life experience in the world of Corporate Wellness—a fact I intend on emphasizing in my resume to future employers ;)  In addition, it has allowed me to build relationships with individuals who are, in my opinion, valuable to the field.  These people have become my mentors and through them, other doors will open. 

Advice to other Students: You’ve heard it a thousand times, but be professional…this doesn’t mean you have to be stiff.  Smile, laugh and be genuine—it might get you the job!  I’d also like to add, once you’re hired—do your absolute best, work hard, and do so with grace.  But accept that you’re not always going to get it perfect.  We are still young and learning…and that’s the beauty of youth!