Sierra's Internship Experience

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Program: Master's in Psychological Research

Hour Requirements: 120 hours

Areas of Interest: Research

My name is Sierra Kaiser and I’m a Seaton Foundation intern working on my masters in Psychological Research at Texas State University. I was placed at LiveOak Living Community to complete my 120-hour internship. As a recent new intern at LiveOak Living Community in Martindale, Texas, I have been exposed to a long-term living community that provides genuine, compassionate care for individuals living with cognitive impairments. At LiveOak, residents are part of a community that encourages and promotes a normal life. The philosophy of LiveOak is not to attempt to “fix” individuals living with cognitive disabilities, rather to establish an environment that allows their residents the opportunities to live meaningful lives. The staff at LiveOak enrich the lives of residents by building an atmosphere that promotes a sense of purpose, a sense of belonging, and inspires growth.

Thus far, this internship has been very fulfilling educationally and has brought a lot of insight as to how people with different cognitive impairments function. The most profound realization I have gained is that even though the residents think and cognitively process a little differently than the majority of people in society, the core of who they are, and their needs are exactly like all other humans. This awareness has made me an overall better care assistant and advocate for those with cognitive impairments. I am now better equipped at adjusting to working with different types of people, I am more knowledgeable as to how traumatic brain injuries and other mental impairments affect people and their daily lives, and I have learned to be more compassionate toward humankind because everyone goes through difficult situations in their lives.

The opportunity to work with the Seaton Foundation is a very humbling and prosperous experience because not only do you learn a lot about the residents, their psychological functioning, and their psychological needs, you learn more about who you are and how you relate to these individuals. I plan to utilize the knowledge and skills I have developed and strengthened, from my experience as an intern, as sufficient tools in helping me further my career in psychology and psychological research.