Jenna Trost ’15 interns with Wilderness Trace Child Development Center
While many Centre College students traveled thousands of miles to take classes or complete internships during CentreTerm, Jenna Trost ’15 chose to expand her talents and explore a career closer to campus, at Danville’s Wilderness Trace Child Development Center (WTCDC).
WTCDC is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to “provide an early education for all kids, including children with significant disabilities, to fully prepare each child, socially, academically and emotionally for kindergarten and ultimately a life of independence.”
Trost completed an internship at WTCDC during CentreTerm, the College’s three-week January term that gives students the opportunity to explore subjects intensively, often through internships or travel (as Trost did last CentreTerm, in Strasbourg, France, at right). For Trost, a behavioral neuroscience major interested in a career in occupational therapy, WTCDC was a perfect fit.
“I found out about this internship through Career Services,” she says. “I plan on attending graduate school after Centre to become an occupational therapist (OT), and I wanted to make sure through this internship that it was exactly what I wanted to do.”
Trost’s internship involved daily work in the WTCDC classrooms with children, as well as shadowing the occupational therapist that visits the school. She also helped prepare activities for the children designed to improve their fine motor skills and learned more about how nonprofit fundraising works by helping WTCDC plan their March fundraising campaign.
“I’m really excited to be able to see what a day in the life of an OT is like,” Trost says. “I think I’d like to do pediatric occupational therapy, so this internship is really the perfect place to experience that firsthand.”
Trost has particularly enjoyed the relationships she has formed with the children at WTCDC.
“One of the children with autism came over to me when we were playing and sat in my lap and hugged me and giggled,” she says. “It was unusual for him to do that with others, so I was happy he’d warmed up to me so quickly. Another boy who has difficulty with processing and learning just recently was able to remember my name without prompting from me.
“Although both of these examples are little things,” she continues, “they were big moments for both of these students.”
Trost is especially thankful for the opportunity to put her education to work and explore a possible future vocation.
“My Centre classes have allowed me to feel confident in my knowledge about the subject matter,” she explains. “I’m glad that we have the opportunity at Centre to explore different career options before we graduate.”
Learn more about internships at Centre.
By Mariel Smith