The Psychology department has provided community opportunities for students to integrate meaningful community service and gain work experience in the field of psychology — called Student Service Learning and Internship Opportunities.
In 2016, Professor of Psychology Tony Philcox started a Service Learning program through a developmental psychology class at the Coalition for the Homeless in downtown Orlando. Deemed a very successful program with the support of the Department Chair and Professor of Psychology Judi Addelston and Dean of Social Science and Physical Education Mark Collins, Tony teamed up with the East Campus internship office to launch the first internship program within the Psychology department. The first internship position consisted of performing 80 hours of volunteer work for one college credit. It was so successful that, one year later, one position turned into two positions.
In addition to the Coalition, Tony connected with AdventHealth Celebration and established an internship program in fall 2018. Requirements for this internship included students performing 160 hours of volunteer work for two hours of college credit.
Fast forward to the fall 2019, for the first time ever, Tony struggled to find internship applicants. He felt like he had hit a brick wall. Many discussions commenced regarding ways to generate interest for spring 2020 semester internships. Suggestions included possibly providing scholarships, editing brochures and creating new direct mail pieces.
Dean of Academic Affairs Michelle Foster suggested targeting a student population that would meet the criteria set for the internships through the database connected to the Title V grant. Project Director, Title V, and Part-time Faculty, Psychology Jennifer Danilowski, sprang into action and initiated mailing. Of the 35 students who responded, six prospects were interviewed by the Psychology Internship Committee. All six students were so impressive that four were selected to interview at Advent Health Celebration, and the other two applied to intern at the Coalition for the Homeless.
It was originally thought that the administrators at AdventHealth would select one student, but the candidates made such an impact that they selected all four. Unfortunately, one student had to withdraw from the program due to family issues. In addition to the success at AdventHealth Celebration, both applicants were accepted at the Coalition for the Homeless. It is through Tony’s hard work, inspiration and dedication that there are five interns placed during this semester.
“Many years ago I was the recipient of a year-long internship at the college I attended,” Tony shared. “It was life-changing and lead to a career in criminal justice that would likely not have otherwise developed. I feel very strongly that internships should be a component of a student’s experience while at Valencia.”
Wendy Givoglu, interim president, East and Winter Park Campuses, complimented Tony by saying, “Congratulations and thank you, Tony, on forging these relationships that are creating tremendous career exploration opportunities for our students. Great work! I echo the appreciation to our Title V leadership as well. It is inspiring to see the impact of our grant-funded initiatives.”