Starkloff Internship Program Benefits All Involved

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SDI staff recently hosted a celebration to recognize the contributions of our spring 2019 practicum students who served as interns.

Lori Becker, SDI’s Chief Operating Officer and Director of Communications & Development, says that an internship with SDI prepares students for their careers in ways they never could have imagined. “SDI internships are a valuable experience for college students who plan to enter the fields of occupational therapy, social work, human resources or public policy,” she says.

“Interns get an extremely unique experience of working alongside professionals with significant disabilities, which you cannot find in many other places,” Lori explains. “They see what it is like to work in an environment that goes beyond providing accommodations, but one that is truly inclusive and values everyone’s contributions.”

Susan Menhard, Director of the Starkloff Career Academy, finds herself marveling at the collective energy and talent of this year’s group. “It was a pleasure to supervise students from the Brown School of Social Work, Washington University during the 2019 spring and summer semesters,” she says. “I learned a great deal from them all.”

Practicum students can make a significant impact on SDI programming. Susan gives us just a couple of examples:

“Alix Grant connected students to internships in the summer months, scheduled tabling events at various universities for the fall semester and gathered extremely helpful information utilized in forming Access U,” she says.

“Natsuki Sasaki produced a high-quality report on the 2019 DREAM BIG Camps, which we will be proud to present to current and potential donors and stakeholders,” Susan details. “She also shared with participants her unique perspective as a student from Japan, which was a rare opportunity for campers.”

Lori agrees that the practicum experience benefits everyone involved. “SDI’s internship program is a win for both student and organization,” she says. “Students receive an amazing experience, while the organization benefits from their work.”

Elizabeth Sullivan, a practicum student assisting with the DREAM BIG program, learned a great deal from her interactions with SDI staff and students. “My practicum experience at Starkloff was extremely positive,” she says. “It was great to work with an organization that has such a huge impact on the disability community in St. Louis.”

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