For John Chillem, there is no greater reward than helping children and teenagers. At Rutgers–Camden, the senior psychology major was able to put his passion to practice during an internship at Kennedy University Hospital in Cherry Hill, where he worked in psychiatric services during the fall 2013 semester.
“This internship allowed me to put my knowledge to use and provided me with firsthand experience in the field with a variety of patient issues like bullying, depression, or other mental disorders,” says Chillem, a Cherry Hill resident and graduate of Camden Catholic High School.
Chillem is one of 27 undergraduate students representing 14 different majors who were placed in internships through a course facilitated by the Rutgers–Camden Career Center this semester. He says the internship experience allowed him to learn beyond a classroom setting and in a professional environment and reinforced his desire to work in his chosen field.
“As soon as I started working at Kennedy Hospital, I realized that it is exactly what I want to do after I graduate,” he says. “Internships really present you with a great opportunity to learn in a real working environment.”
During his internship, Chillem assisted with patient group therapy and even had an opportunity to lead a few therapy sessions on his own for inpatients from ages 5 to 17. The sessions included art therapy and coping mechanisms.
“The best feeling was being able to make patients smile,” Chillem says. “That was the biggest reward for the work that I did there.”
At Rutgers–Camden, Chillem is serving as a research assistant for Kristin August, an assistant professor of psychology who studies how family, friends, and health care providers are involved in diabetes management. Chillem says the research experience has been as important as the internship in helping prepare him for a career in psychology.
“Rutgers–Camden has made such a huge impact on me, in teaching me the importance of research, and preparing me to succeed in my field,” he says.
To learn more about internship opportunities at the Rutgers–Camden Career Center, visit cc.camden.rutgers.edu.