The phrase ‘mom knows best' rings true for one Wichita State University student. Miranda Roland, a student in the Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) program, is spending the summer as a home paraeducator intern at Heartspring, a local nonprofit that serves children with developmental disabilities. It's a career path she never imagined when she was in high school.
“I technically didn't choose my major,” said Roland. “I thought I wanted to do physical therapy at first, but my mom suggested I do more of speech therapy and speech pathology. When I enrolled here I just enrolled in CSD classes and I ended up loving it.”
Roland first heard about Heartspring's internship opportunities when a job recruiter and a home supervisor from Heartspring came to talk to her phonetics class last spring.
The opportunity to work closely with children to help them accomplish their goals appealed to Roland. She applied for a position and has worked at Heartspring for more than a year.
“I have a lot of experience working at Heartspring that not many people in my field have ... I'm hoping this internship will give me a leg up.”
The Heartspring School is a residential program serving students with developmental disabilities such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, speech and language impairments, vision or hearing impairments and multiple disabilities.
The goal of Heartspring is to provide care and services to children with special needs to “empower them to grow and learn on a path to a more independent life.”
Heartspring's internship program provides Roland with opportunities that not many of her peers have.
“I have a lot of experience working at Heartspring that not many people in my field have because it's hard to find a facility where you can do speech goals without actually having your degree,” said Roland. “I'm hoping this internship will give me a leg up.”
Roland's dream is to become a full-time employee at Heartspring after graduation. She wants to continue to run speech goals and build relationships with students to help them grow and achieve their goals.
Roland's internship means more to her than just getting ahead of the competition. Over her year at Heartspring she has developed close bonds with her students. The relationships are not always easy to build, but Roland believes this makes her work even more rewarding.
In fact, Roland believes that no matter the work involved, internships can be rewarding for everyone.
“An internship helps you learn if you even like the field you are going into and it helps you get experience,” said Roland. “The reason I fell in love with mine is because of this job. I learned that I love it and the population I want to work with and what I want to do.”