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Not your typical camp counselor, meet Yohana Beraki

Yohana Beraki, is a senior from Indianapolis majoring in psychological sciences with a minor in management and a certificate in entrepreneurship. Yohana is very involved on campus as an ambassador for the College of Health and Human Sciences, a member of the African Student Association, Walking with Wisdom, PSY CHI, as well as an HHS Mentor and an Emerging Leaders mentor. On top of all the involvements she has on campus, her passion lies with helping children.

Last summer she had the opportunity to do what she loves and gain valuable internship experience in her field. Yohana interned for The Summit Center in Buffalo, New York and counseled children with ADHD and other mental disorders. The aspiring psychology practice owner said that the internship pushed her out of her comfort zone and helped her better understand what she wants to focus on in the future.

Q: What attracted you to the company/position?

A: As a Psychology major, most opportunities or experiences are within research and I had completed three semesters worth of research, so I wanted hands on experience with counseling. A psych adviser told me about The Summit Center and what their mission was, so I applied. The Summit Center Summer Treatment Program, which is what department I worked for, is a summer day camp for children suffering with ADHD and/or other disorders. As a clinical counselor my job was to teach them mechanisms to cope with their disorders.

Q: Can you tell me a little about what your overall experience was like working there and what your typical day was like?

A: I absolutely loved every part of the experience. The supervisors and coworkers I met were extremely helpful and kind. The city of Buffalo very quickly became my home for the summer and the work I was doing made me excited to wake up each morning. I worked with the adolescent group and our typical day consisted of computer lab, classroom time, art time, lunch, sports, chores and more sports. The program is centered around a point system where the children earn and lose points based on their behavior, so at the end of each day interns would input data into our system for each child. Overall, it was a summer camp that even the interns enjoyed.

Q: Do you feel that your past internships helped prepare you for this one? If so how?

A: This was actually my first internship! I was really excited to be given the opportunity to have an internship because I didn’t have any experience before hand. I’ve been a research assistant for many labs on campus with professors in my department, but those aren’t considered internships. Although I did have jobs and volunteer experiences with children that I think made me qualified for this internship.

Q: What did this job teach you about yourself?

A: This job taught me more than I could have ever hoped to learn. I learned about exactly what disorders I want to focus on in my career and what age group I enjoy best. I also learned how to be more independent, living in a city by myself where I knew no one. It taught me how to work with many different types of people in a productive way and it pushed me way out of my comfort zone.

Q: Where do you see yourself working post-graduation?

A: I plan on attending graduate school next fall. After I complete my master’s degree I plan on opening my own private practice while practicing counseling psychology for different youth within different diverse communities.

Q: How do you feel that your education at Purdue helped you while working for this company?

A: Honestly, I think my education here at Purdue made all the difference. Traveling to a different state was quite nerve-racking and I didn’t really know what to expect, but when I started meeting people and told them I was a student at Purdue University, they immediately knew what school I was talking about and I earned the respect of most of my supervisors immediately. Also within the psychology department, the plan of study is so broad and flexible that I was able to take as many psychology classes that interested me which prepared me greatly for the job.

Q: What career readiness tools has Purdue provided you with?

A: The Center for Career Opportunities helped me a great deal while applying for this internship. They helped me polish my resume and my essays for the application. The Purdue Writing Lab and the OWL website helped me as well. Also, the CCO helped me with mock interviews, which made me feel much more relaxed at the actual internship interview.

Q: What career advice would you give to underclassmen?

A: As an underclassman, I myself didn’t know exactly what I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing, so my advice would be to try as many new things as you can. Purdue is such an amazing university and the opportunities are endless, so take every opportunity you can to network and learn. The more you try new things and learn more about the experiences available here, the more you’ll learn where you fit in the world and what your passions are. Once you find that out, speak to mentors, advisers, the CCO, etc. about what action steps are necessary to succeed in the career of your choice. You’re at the right place and you’ll only go up from here.

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