The Practicum

Practicum Class 2006 - 2007

In their resources to share, the 2006-2007 class present a value framework for Community Social Psychology and discuss the importance of creating a strong vision forprograms.The Program evaluation process is detailed, as is data collection methods, two aspects of Community Psychology that go hand-in-hand. The class offers an in-depth look at recruiting and managing relationships with volunteers. There is extensive information on mentoring relationships and the ins-and-outs of effective collaboration. There is also an interesting discussion of the importance of developing an asset inventory not only in planning programs for children, but also for defining your own strengths.

Resources to Share

Practicum Placements

Placement:Lexington Public Schools
Student:Colleen Flynn
Supervisor: Jennifer Putnam 

I worked at the Fiske Elementary school in Lexington in the Special Education Program called the ILP (Intensive Learning Program), which services special needs children with severe disabilities and behaviors. This small classroom focuses on one-to-one learning and is designed to educate special needs children in a manner suited to their needs and promote interaction with regular education as much as possible.

My work as a practicum student focused on social skill development with the children. I ran two social skill activities a week and went with the children to inclusion times with regular education classrooms and collected data on their social interactions.

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Placement:Andover Historical Society
Student:Christina Fernandez
Supervisor: Elaine Clements

In early 2006, Andover Historical Society’s main educational program, an after school program for kids called Time Travelers, had gone on indefinite hiatus due to lack of attendance, paired with the resignation of the Museum Educator. My primary focus during my practicum was getting this program back off the ground. This included running a post-program evaluation (which involved contacting the program’s former participants and their parents), building partnerships within the community, writing a grant, and working with Andover public schools. I am also working on building a system of sustainability so that the program’s success is dependent neither on grant funding nor specific staff persons/interns’ involvement. 

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Placement:Northeast Center for Healthy Communities
Student:Kimberly Roberts
Supervisor: Jim Ryan

The Northeast Center for Healthy Communities is located in Lawrence, and works with several local communities to enhance the health of people living and working in that community. Specifically, I worked with Medford Health Matters, located in Medford, and gained experience in program evaluation, grant writing, facilitating meetings, organizing and analyzing data, working with public officials and those of diverse backgrounds, and developing assets in the community.

Medford Health Matters cooperates with the local schools, police departments, and all other town departments to decrease youth alcohol and substance abuse, increase the environmental health of Medford, educate about type II diabetes, and raise awareness about many different health issues.

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Placement:The Cultural Organization of Lowell (COOL)
Student:Danielle Bergeron
Supervisor: LZ Nunn

I feel that my experience as a Practicum student will make me extremely marketable as I begin to look for a fulltime job. The duties I have performed and the projects I have worked on throughout this year have assisted me in terms of my personal and professional development.

COOL was an interesting placement because it allowed me to learn about all the cultural programs that are offered in the city of Lowell; where I lived all my life. Projects I worked on this year include Destination World, Winterfest and the ARTVentures Series. Although at times I feel that I did a lot of administrative work, I also, was allowed to think creatively and apply many of the Community Social Principle to the community.

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Placement:The Wish Project
Student:Sara Strauhal
Supervisor: Donna Hunnewell

I served mainly as the Volunteer Coordinator with responsibilities to recruit and organize volunteer groups to work at the warehouse; create and implement a volunteer database and sign-in log; plan projects in the warehouse for volunteers to organize and sort incoming donations; set up current monthly projects (Easter bags, Holiday gifts, Newborn baby kits) and assist volunteer to organize and package goods; create Volunteer Manual for future individuals in this position. Volunteer groups I worked with consisted of various ages and organizations, including Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops, UML sports teams, church groups, mentally disabled teens senior citizen groups and school organizations. 

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Placement:Lowell House, Inc
Student:Peter MacNeill
Supervisor: Ken Powers 

Lowell House, Inc. is a human service agency dedicated to providing addiction and HIV services in safe and community based environments. LHI embodies a culture that recognizes and values diversity by supporting progressive approaches to treatment. LHI contributes to the health and well-being of the community through demonstrated leadership in the areas of prevention, education and intervention. Lowell House has been providing these services to individuals and communities in the Merrimack Valley for over thirty-five years.

Some of my practicum experiences have included the following objectives and goals:

  • Participant Observer
    • Learning about the different programs within the agency
    • Attending weekly supervision meetings
    • Interacting with other staff members
  • Planner Manger
    • Collaboration
    • Meeting with and learning about other agencies
    • Involvement in the city of Lowell’s Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness
  • Professional Development
    • Understanding my role and responsibilities
    • Observing and learning from the Lowell House, Inc. staff
    • Grant writing project(s)

Please be advised that this is only some skills I am attempting to develop. If you have some other areas of interest and/or would like to pursue a project that appeals to you and this is an agency that you might consider, please contact Ken Powers, CEO, Executive Director, LHI, to ascertain if it would be a mutually acceptable and beneficial experience.

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Placement:Crittenton Women’s Union –Woman to Woman Program
Student:Eileen Palmer
Supervisor: Josephine Madrazo

I am doing my practicum at the Crittenton Women’s Union (CWU) in Boston. CWU transforms the course of low-income women’s lives so that they can attain economic independence and create better futures for themselves and their families. The program that I am working in is called the Woman to Woman program, a 12 week career development program designed to provide computer training, professional development skills (such as resume writing and interview skills), and professional dress. I have also assisted in advocacy, job search, and writing skills lessons.

I meet one on one with participants to sharpen their job search correspondence tools (such as resume, cover letter, and thank you letter). I was originally recruited to compile a resource manual for mentors to use when issues come up with their mentees that they need assistance with. The manual includes many organizations and programs that can provide leads in these cases.

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Placement:Rape Crisis Services of Greater Lowell, Inc
Student:Kyle Twarog
Supervisor: Meredith Trueblood

RCSGL was founded in 1976 with the mission to heal and empower survivors of rape and sexual assault through counseling, advocacy, and education. My experience at the RCSGL, Inc. has been nothing short of amazing. The women in the agency are truly passionate about the work they provide for the community. My particular position at the agency is to educate children in the Greater Lowell Area on safety, rights, and empowerment through the Child Assault Prevention program.

I also worked with the women at UTCE on the Vagina Monologues to raise awareness for Sexual Assault Awareness month. I am currently working on the “Clothesline Project.” I will be hanging the clothesline at Lowell High School, Lowell Vocational School, Middlesex Community College, and here at University of Massachusetts Lowell during the month of April. This past year has opened so many doors for me and helped to shape my future.

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Placement:Center for Family Work and Community
Student:Rosemary Vasquez
Supervisor: Robin Toof

The Center for Family, Work & Community is dedicated to providing exceptional organization development, consultation and training. It can also teach you how to create partnerships within the community. The can help community and organizational capacity by bringing university skills, strategic planning and expertise to groups outside the university. I have learned to utilize my practicum skills in class and put them into evaluation projects the center has with different agencies.

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Placement:TRIO Student Success Program
Student:Heather Norcorss
Supervisor: Ann Buskey & Aimee Rusman

The Student Success Program at Middlesex Community College is a federally funded TRIO Program that serves 200 low income and first generation college students and individuals with disabilities. Services are available to students to support the educational experience. Academic support is provided and includes regular and drop-in appointments with tutors, counselors, and an academic services specialist.