Summer Internships: Jenny Jiang '23
Name: Jenny (Yun) Jiang
Class Year: 2023
Major: German and Psychology
Hometown: Shanghai, China
Internship Organization: Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support, Saint Joseph’s University
Job Title: Direct Care (one on one support)/SCHOLAR
Location: Merion, PA
What’s happening at your internship? We would love to hear what kind of work you are doing!
I provided various kinds of support (emotional, physical) for one child on the autism spectrum with ADHD, and discouraged repetitive behaviors and encouraged social interaction
Why did you apply for this internship?
I had a course in health studies at Haverford College where students in the community discussed and debated on how accommodations during undergrad and in society could or should be improved; what kinds of awareness one needs have to give respect and care for people with disabilities. The internship is a great fit for my urge to explore deeper in the discipline, and to get some hands-on experience.
What has been your favorite part of this internship?
I am in a group with kids from 7-9 years old, they are very cute kiddos (though the situation could get chaotic sometimes and there are conflicts). It is fascinating to see how much they have progressed in merely two months, and to hear from parents about less types of behaviors seen at home (less elopement, less defiance). Previously I thought ASD is elusive and cannot be generalized, but at camp, with such detailed and extensive observation, I have gradually gleaned some commonalities among the kids and worked out what correction methods fits them. It is also a blessing for me to notice precious qualities that these kids have on them. Some are really kind and empathetic, calming peers down when conflicts arise, holding doors for the group, or grabbing lunch bags for their friends during lunch time. They appear so mature and understanding as 7-year-olds and I can’t help imagining how amazing they will become in the future.
What is something you have learned from your internship that you didn’t expect?
What I learned but didn’t expect is how much inner strength I gained through the process. Kids can say harmful things, and I got hurt at the first half of the internship a lot. I felt distraught when someone said, “go away, I don’t work with you, you are not nice, you can’t help me” multiple times throughout the day. But my colleagues held me back the whole time and we understood his words weren’t meant to hurt. I also seek support from my parent, who has dealt with my reckless words when I was young, and my dad taught me to reply with “how would you feel if someone said you are not nice and would not like to be friends with you?” and that strategy worked out. Slowly, his attitude started shifting, he would hold my hand during transition and express his affection while I was away with “where’s Ms. Jenny? You are nice!” I am uncertain what contributed to his change, but it is sure that we formed friendship overtime.
Can you talk about the skills you are learning and why they are important to you?
Though direct care is not a specialized position requiring extensive background knowledge, it is sure a trial for one’s character as I need to be alert, patient, proactive and empathetic throughout camp. I learn to be responsive when other SCHOLARS need help, to sprint to places when elopement happens, and to cheer when progress is made. It is a role combining teacher, friend, and parent sometimes and can be mentally draining. But I survived and harnessed great pleasure seeing their growth and improvement.
Visit the Summer Internship Stories page to read more about student internship experiences.