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Wheelock adds new internship sites

Boston University’s Wheelock School of Education is collaborating with three institutions to create new spring internship opportunities for students in the Child Life and Family-Centered Care Program. LUWA YIN/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

Boston University’s Wheelock College of Education and Human Development announced three new internship sites for their master’s of science program in child life and family-centered care Friday, according to the Wheelock website.

The expansion in internship sites directly benefits the program, which aims to train students to work with families and children in different stages of life and with diverse healthcare needs. 

Carolyn Kurker Gallagher, a field placement coordinator for the program and clinical instructor at Wheelock, said the new internship sites will give students additional locations at which to apply what they learn to help children and families.

“I think every single one of our internship opportunities provide valuable hands-on learning environments that challenge our students to apply learned theories to clinical practice,” Gallagher said. “I wouldn’t say that these new locations are more important, I’d just say we’re very lucky.”

The program requires 48 credit hours in selected 500-level and above classes, as well as one 200-hour and one 400-hour clinical internship, Gallagher said. The increased number of sites gives students a variety of ways to meet requirements. 

Current internship sites include a variety of healthcare settings in the Greater Boston area, from nonprofit organizations to hospice care centers to hospital settings, including the existing child life partnerships at Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital. 

Gallagher also said the program coordinators decide which internship site students will attend based on their application. Students are matched with sites through a process that aims to provide “best fit” internships. 

The new sites are Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Longwood, South Shore Hospital in South Weymouth and the Roxbury-based nonprofit Horizons for Homeless Children, according to the website. Each new internship site accommodates one intern. 

At Brigham and Women’s Hospital, students will work with the hospitals’ Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and are asked to focus on family-centered and psychosocial care, according to the Wheelock website. 

At South Shore Hospital, interns will work in the Pediatric Emergency Department to help assess patient needs and provide support in what is often a stressful environment. 

Horizons for Homeless Children, which aims to support homeless children and their families, will ask students to develop relationships and play with children to offer support. 

Gallagher said internships allow students to gain exposure to real-world settings and apply what they learn in the classroom.  

“We hope that [students] benefit the same way that they do with all of our sites,” Gallagher said. “That they would be able to strengthen their skill and knowledge to create an opportunity for our students to be formidable professions in the field of child life.”

Gallagher also said that she is happy students will be able to apply their skills to help people in need.

“We’re truly lucky that we have an opportunity for our students, in a variety of settings, to be able to apply course theory to hands on work,” Gallagher said. “I think that’s really valuable when we are working with children and families who are in vulnerable and scary situations.”

Taylor Nelson, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, said she thinks having and maintaining an internship can benefit a person’s career.

“Internships are an important stepping stone on the route to a career, so [students] will be able to get better jobs,” Nelson said.

Hadwin Belcher, a sophomore in the Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, said she thinks the added internships will help BU students because there are sparse options in the field of education.

“Internships are always a good thing, even for undergraduates and graduate students because you can get more experience,” Belcher said. “I do know a lot of people who want to get into education and there are no options for that, so that’s great that there are more internships now.”

Siobhan Flynn, a junior in Sargent, said she thinks Wheelock has made a step in the right direction by adding more sites for internships. 

“I feel like that’s a good change because Wheelock has gone through a lot of changes in the past year or so,” Flynn said. “And I think opening up more opportunities for all the students in Wheelock is positive.”

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