Jackie Paplham, from Kewaunee, Wisc., is in her fifth year at UW Oshkosh and will be graduating this May. She is majoring in Human Services with minors in Psychology, Women Studies and Social Justice with an emphasis in Prejudice and Discrimination. Follow along as she shares her internship experiences during her final semester at UW Oshkosh.
The Human Services Leadership program has provided significant contributions to my personal and professional growth and identity. My advanced internship’s at CHAPS Academy and Dispute Solutions provided exceptional learning environments and experiences. These placements allowed my skills to be demonstrated, hone and created while crafting sentimental memories that have redirected my future.
CHAPS and Dispute Solutions fostered an environment where human behavior and interaction could be observed and understood through a cognitive, humanistic, behavioral, legal and ethical multicultural and environmental perspective. I observed how staff interacted with clients and community members, and how clients and community members interacted with staff. This allowed me to critically think about the approaches taken and evaluate strengths and weaknesses. Through these placements I learned the power of stories. Stories can hinder and or liberate people. Reflecting upon client’s stories has placed my own life into perspective. Observing what staff does on a daily basis taught me the importance of balance and boundaries. Creating a healthy balance between work and life is crucial to maintain optimal performance in each. On the other hand, constructing healthy boundaries with clients is a skill I was challenged to refine.
CHAPS and Dispute Solutions serve those who are going through crisis situations in their lives. I was challenged to create healthy boundaries with those clients. I developed rapport and then created avenues for self-empowerment with the clients. For example, I implemented and presented an empowering presentation to the Hope Lives program. I honed my responsive listening and problem solving skills at both placements. I designed and executed a fundraising event that generated $400 in profit for CHAPS. I was able to demonstrate diverse communication skills using the creative arts. For example, communication was created through the use of songs, dance, cooking, animals and outdoor activities. Most importantly I learned to understand the power of silence. Generating a unique lesson, I used silence as responses. I practiced intervention strategies and crisis management skills in high pressure situations. I combined patience, determination and persistence to troubleshot issues.
My professional experiences affect my personal growth and my personal growth affects my professional experiences. Appreciating the diversity of individuals is extremely valuable. I believe individuals communicating their stories create appreciation. One realizes we are more alike than different. It is in helping others, we help ourselves.
I made significant contributions to my placements just as they made significant contributions to my growth and identity. My conversations about my future have changed significantly. The skills developed and honed in my advanced internships identified the future I want for myself in the Human Services profession. I discovered how much I value my role in leadership positions and relationships with clients. I thrive off the challenge to demonstrate multilevel resourcefulness and advocacy. These factors I discovered through CHAPS and Dispute Solutions will be the direction I take in my future. After graduation I will be moving to Thailand to teach English! Once I return, I will pursue a job in the human services profession and continue my education in graduate school.