In the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, students not only find majors that appeal to their passions, but also discover hands-on experiences that allow them to more fully realize those passions as careers. Victoria Vargas, class of 2024, is one of those students. A Psychology major, Vargas spent her summer interning in the Jersey City School District.
What is your role in your internship? What does a day look like for you as an intern?
I am a school social work intern in the Jersey City School District. In this internship, I am part of the child study team for the AIMS extended school year program which is a highly structured, innovative and supportive summer opportunity for students with disabilities enrolled in the Jersey City Public Schools. This program serves students ranging in age PreK-3 to 21. Over the course of this program, my position is comprised of many different responsibilities. I aid in ensuring a smooth and comfortable transition for any student being dropped off or picked up by their guardian in the mornings and afternoons. I communicate with guardians during this time and listen to any concerns and answer any questions they may have. Throughout the day I shadow two school psychologists, as well as the supervisor for public education. I not only observe, but actively engage with students under the supervision of the school psychologists and often support students in extreme emotional distress. I provide extra assistance to teachers in classrooms where students may have some overwhelming behavioral challenges.
How does your internship relate to or support your major and your career goals?
I am currently a psychology major triple minoring in social work, child advocacy and policy, and cognitive science. In the future, after obtaining my Master of Social Work, I plan to be a school social worker as part of a child study team. Eventually I hope to obtain my LCSW and open my own private practice while maintaining my position as member of a child study team. This internship is an exceptionally valuable experience, as it is teaching me what it means to work with students with learning disabilities, as well as how to communicate and collaborate with other professionals to benefit these students.
What was your favorite part of this internship?
My favorite part of this internship was getting to make meaningful connections with the students. I enjoy learning about the interests of the students and especially love encouraging them to pursue their interests. I am honored that students turn to me during times of emotional distress and enjoy providing them with the support they need. I appreciate every interaction I have with the students, as I know this is not something many school social workers can do during the school year due to the large caseloads.
How did you find out about this internship?
I found out about this internship from a school social worker in the Jersey City School District. She informed me about the program and encouraged me to apply for the internship.