Growing up in Bremerton, Washington, Fiona Graham, an English and History major in her senior year at MSU, landed a summer internship last year in her home state through the connections she made during service projects in high school.
Working under the title of Registered Behavior Technician, Graham interned for North Star Behavior Consultants. Her role consisted of implementing behavioral treatment plans during one-on-one sessions with clients who have autism.
“On a typical day, I would conduct a session with a client at their home wherein we did a variety of activities meant to teach them new skills,” Graham said. “After a session, I would spend the rest of the day finishing up my session notes, speaking with my supervisor, and planning for the next session.”
During her internship, Graham cultivated the basics of how to collect appropriate qualitative and quantitative data during one-on-one sessions with clients. Additionally, the educational nature of the internship allowed her to collaborate with a tight-knit professional team of behavior analysts.
“Collaboration with my team was one of the most important pieces of my internship,” Graham said. “When working with clients, their best interest is always at the forefront of care, so in planning and proceeding with sessions, collaborating with my supervisors would ensure that we were taking that into account.””Being around like-minded people and having conversations about our work that we are really passionate about is an experience I wish everyone could have. There is something special about being able to share your interests and knowledge with people who truly understand.”
Beyond Graham’s professional relationship with the North Star Behavior Consultants team, the kind rapport she had with team members made her feel inspired and supported.
“Being around like-minded people and having conversations about our work that we are really passionate about is an experience I wish everyone could have. There is something special about being able to share your interests and knowledge with people who truly understand,” Graham said. “I also was able to dive deeper into the world of client care while working with my team and I learned a lot. It was helpful in deciding if education was where I want my path to lead next.”
“I also learned countless skills that will benefit me in a career in education, including how to bring enthusiasm into learning and how to adapt to the constant unexpected situations in teaching.”Fiona Graham
Although leading the learning process can be full of trial and error, the close involvement it requires with another individual allows for only the most passionate to realize their calling in education.
“I learned so much about the highs and lows of education and healthcare, from feeling as though little change is being made to being incredibly excited to try something new in a session,” Graham said. “I also learned countless skills that will benefit me in a career in education, including how to bring enthusiasm into learning and how to adapt to the constant unexpected situations in teaching.”
Graham’s unyielding commitment and drive to pursue opportunities in the field of education began to develop in her youth. While growing up, she helped in classrooms that her mother worked in. This early exposure to teaching increased her interest in education, which turned into a passion that has brought her joy.
“For anyone looking for an internship, I strongly suggest looking locally and reaching out to any possible connections you may have, from family and friends and even people from high school,” Graham said. “Also, don’t be afraid to be picky! Choose something you are passionate about because an internship can lead to a career. I know now for sure that I have a future in education, and I will continue working with North Star after graduation.”