Alana Pudalov '08 Was Summer Intern at Cornerstone Therapeutic Nursery
Recipient of Joseph F. Anderson Fund Grant
By Lisbeth Redfield
August 29, 2006
Alana Pudalov '08 (Armonk, N.Y.) spent her summer working at the Cornerstone Therapeutic Nursery in White Plains as an intern. While working with the children and shadowing the teachers, Pudalov got a taste of child psychology in a scholastic situation.
Pudalov was one of 13 Hamiltonians who received college funding to conduct a summer internship. While pursuing internships is an increasingly popular move for students, the realities pose certain problems. Most of the available positions are unpaid, requiring students to fund their own housing and living expenses as well as working for free, all in pursuit of the elusive resume-booster "work experience."
Thanks to generous grants from parents and alumni, Hamilton students can apply for funding to support them while they work in a field of interest with an organization that cannot pay them. Though Pudalov worked in what is known as an "unpaid internship," she received money from Hamilton's Joseph F. Anderson Internship Fund, given in honor of a 1944 Hamilton graduate who served the college for 18 years as vice president for communications and development. The fund in his name provides individual stipends to support full-time internships for students wishing to expand their educational horizons in preparation for potential careers after graduation.
The primary goal of the Cornerstone Therapeutic Nursery Program is to increase the protective factors of attachment, self-control/emotional regulation, and initiative of children 2.5 to 5 years of age and their families. Services provided in the Cornerstone therapeutic nurseries are guided by current research in the fields of mental health, early childhood education, resiliency, trauma, and attachment.
Working with teachers, psychologists, and Dr. Beverly Richard the site supervisor, Pudalov's duties were those of an assistant teacher. She was struck by the psychological effects of early childhood. "Working with these kids really opened my eyes to how one's childhood affects [the] sense of self," said Pudalov. "Most of the children in the program have been physically and/or mentally abused…it is incredibly [sad] to see how these traumatic childhood experiences impact their daily lives." She explained that she could better understand why the children misbehaved when she heard what their home lives were like.
She was also interested in the cooperative work of the nursery administrators. "The teachers rely on each other for daily support," Pudalov said, explaining the after-school ritual of "processing time," where the staff discussed their patients. "The teachers communicate with each other all the time, and raise concerns and questions and as a result are constantly improving how the school runs."
Pudalov was interested in this internship because she wanted to learn and to build on the material she had gained from her child development psychology classes. As well as gaining hands-on experience, she did outside reading on her topic both before and during her internship. "[It] has helped me figure out what I want to do after Hamilton," said Pudalov. A psychology major, she hopes to be a school psychologist. "This summer experience has helped me realize that I am passionate about helping kids in an educational setting."
On campus, Pudalov is an active member of HAVOC and the Environmental Action Group, as well as a number of other campus volunteer and service organizations.
-- Lisbeth Redfield